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President Obama Honors Those Lost and Injured in West, Texas Explosion

Summary: 
President Obama travels to Waco, Texas to speak at a memorial service for those lost and injured in the deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in nearby West, Texas.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a memorial service at Baylor University

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a memorial service at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, for victims killed last week at a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, April 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama traveled to Waco, Texas to speak at a memorial service for those lost and injured in last week’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in nearby West, Texas.

The President honored the first responders and volunteers from the tight-knit community who rushed to the scene as soon as the fire alarm sounded, “farmers and car salesmen; and welders and funeral home directors; the city secretary and the mayor… folks who are tough enough and selfless enough to put in a full day’s work and then be ready for more.”

And together, you answered the call. You dropped your schoolwork, left your families, jumped in fire trucks, and rushed to the flames. And when you got to the scene, you forgot fear and you fought that blaze as hard as you could, knowing the danger, buying time so others could escape. And then, about 20 minutes after the first alarm, the earth shook, and the sky went dark -- and West changed forever.

“Today our prayers are with the families of all who we’ve lost -- the proud sons and daughters of West whose memories will live on in our hearts,” President Obama said. “Our thoughts are with those who face a long road -- the wounded, the heartbroken, the families who lost their homes and possessions in an instant.”

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend a memorial service at Baylor University

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend a memorial service at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, for victims killed last week at a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, April 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“To the people of West, just as we’ve seen the love you share in better times, as friends and brothers and sisters, these hard days have shown your ability to stand tall in times of unimaginable adversity,” President Obama said. “And in the days ahead, this love and support will be more important than ever, because there will be moments of doubt and pain and the temptation to wonder how this community will ever fully recover.” 

“But today I see in the people of West, in your eyes, that what makes West special isn't going to go away. And instead of changing who you are, this tragedy has simply revealed who you’ve always been.”

"You have been tested," the President told the town."You have been tried. You have gone through fire. But you are and always will be surrounded by an abundance of love."

Family members react during a memorial service at Baylor University

Family members react during a memorial service at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, for victims killed last week at a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, April 25, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)