SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

April 26, 2013

Obama praises first responders who died in Texas blast

WACO, Texas — With the flag-draped coffins of 12 first responders before him, President Barack Obama lauded the courage of the volunteer firefighters who rushed toward the scene of a massive fertilizer plant explosion and gave their lives trying to help their neighbors.

“No words adequately describe the courage that was displayed on that deadly night,” he said at a memorial service yesterday. “What I can do is offer the love, the support and the prayers of a nation.”

Last week’s blast, which was caused by a fire, killed 14 people, nearly all volunteer first responders. It also leveled parts of West, a close-knit town of 2,800.

Obama traveled to Waco after attending the opening of President George W. Bush’s presidential library in Dallas. En route, his helicopter passed over the site of the fertilizer plant, circling it a few times to view the flattened structures and scarred earth where the explosions occurred.

The president spoke to more than 9,000 people gathered at a memorial at Baylor University for the victims.

“The call went out to volunteers, not professionals, people who just love to serve, people who want to help their neighbors,” he said. “It went out to folks tough and selfless enough to put in a full day’s work and then be ready for more. Together, you answered the call. … When you got to the scene, you forgot fear and you fought the 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 was changed forever.”

Obama quoted the Book of Psalms and assured the crowd that Americans would remember the town.

“We stand with you, and we do not forget,” he said.

“And we’ll be there even after the cameras leave and after attention turns elsewhere.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Salem's Collins seeks longer day

    SALEM -- Collins Middle School may look a little different next year. For starters, longtime Principal Mary Manning, who has headed the school for more than 20 years, is retiring and will be replaced by a new, yet-unnamed principal. More than that, t

    April 19, 2014 6 Stories

  • 140418_SN_KYU_WALK_2 Walking the Walk BEVERLY -- Four hundred thirty walkers, 10.5 miles and $65,000. Those are the numbers you can count on just about every year from the Good Friday Walk. The 35th annual walk produced those figures once again yesterday, with the money going to help nee

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Marblehead chief charts drop in crime MARBLEHEAD -- Police chief Robert Picariello has highlighted an overall drop in crime from 2012 to 2013 in his annual report to the town. The decrease was substantial in the category of crimes against persons, down 23 percent for incidents like rape,

    April 19, 2014

  • North Shore residents to run in 2014 Boston Marathon

    The Salem News asked those on the North Shore who are running this year's Boston Marathon to share their reasons for running. 

    If you're running the marathon this year, it's not too late to share why you're running. Send a brief paragraph, a photo of yourself and a link to your fundraising site (if applicable) to Cheryl Richardson at crichardson@salemnews.com.

    April 17, 2014

  • One-way school bus passes to get trial run in Peabody PEABODY -- Students will be able to ride the school bus one way next year without paying the price of a round-trip fare. The School Committee has agreed to offer one-way passes on a trial basis following review of transportation data and a proposal f

    April 19, 2014