Saturday, Jan, 8, 2011, America was witness to a terrible and heinous act.
The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, as well as the deaths of Judge John Roll, Congresswoman Gifford's staff member Gabe Zimmerman, a 9-year-old child and three others are an unspeakable tragedy that has pained me and the entire nation.
Gayle and I, and all West Virginians, offer our prayers to those who were injured, and God's comfort to the families who have lost loved ones.
It goes without saying that this terrible act has shaken our nation and pained our hearts. However, America's democracy, our cherished values and our government have been tested many times throughout our great nation's history. We have always persevered through these difficult and trying moments by uniting together, and we will do so again.
Now is the opportunity for all us - regardless of our political beliefs or party - to remember that no matter how big our differences may seem, we are all Americans. We are all part of the greatest nation on this earth, united by shared values and common purpose. This is the unbreakable bond that unites this country and it will not be broken by acts of violence.
While we may never be able to prevent the acts of a disturbed individual, I hope that this terrible act and the immense pain it has caused to the loved ones of those who were lost and injured will encourage us to come together with a renewed spirit. Together, we can work toward the betterment of our communities and our entire nation.
Let us, as best we can, begin to put our political differences aside.
Let us strive to find the commonsense solutions that move our nation forward and remind us that no matter our backgrounds, ethnicity, race, political party or where we live, we share one common and unbreakable bond.
We all share a love for this nation, for our families and for our children. This is the bond that unites us in these difficult times, and it will continue to move this nation forward.
This week I will begin my first state visit, traveling West Virginia to hear my constituents' concerns and ideas for the nation, and to bring our state's practical values back to Washington. I hope that throughout my visits in the coming days, I will begin to hear the calls for common sense that will ring loud in Washington and that nation.
As you all know, I ran for the U.S. Senate to fix Washington. I want to do what I can to move our nation past stark partisan divides and angry rhetoric, toward a brighter and more promising future. I believe we can do that by working together - much like West Virginians did here when I was Governor.
So, as I travel the state and hold public events as part of my "Call for Common Sense" tour, I look forward to meeting with the great people of West Virginia, listening to their concerns and discussing their ideas on how to address the great challenges our nation faces.
And, I encourage all - regardless of their political beliefs - to get involved, speak out, and work with me to bring common sense and common purpose back to Washington.