- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2007

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Representing America’s anguish, President Bush said Tuesday that he prays for comfort for those victimized by the “dark turn” of the day at Virginia Tech that turned into the nation’s deadliest shooting spree.

“Laura and I have come to Blacksburg today with hearts full of sorrow,” he said in six-minute remarks at a convocation on the campus where 33 people, including the suspected gunman, died in two separate shootings the day before.

“This is a day of mourning for the Virginia Tech community and it is a day of sadness for our entire nation,” Bush said. “In this time of anguish, I hope you know that people all over this country are thinking about you and asking God to provide comfort for all who have been affected.”

Before flying to the tragedy-stricken university in southwestern Virginia, Bush also ordered flags flown at half staff and issued a written proclamation in honor of those killed and wounded.

Speaking to a somber basketball arena, packed with students and others, many wearing orange short-sleeved Virgina Tech T-shirts, the president encouraged grieving students to reach out for help.

“To all of you who are OK, I’m happy for that,” Bush said. “To those of you who are in pain or who have lost someone close to you, I’m sure you can call on any one of us and have help anytime you need it.”

Quoting Scripture, he told those angered by the killings not to be overcome by evil.

“People who have never met you are praying for you,” Bush said. “They’re praying for your friends who have fallen and who are injured. There’s a power in these prayers, a real power. In times like this, we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God.”

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