Dr. Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff visit families impacted by Waukesha parade tragedy, Children's Wisconsin vaccine clinic

NOW: Dr. Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff visit families impacted by Waukesha parade tragedy, Children’s Wisconsin vaccine clinic


MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff arrived in Milwaukee Wednesday, Dec. 15 to meet with victims of the Waukesha parade attack and their families.

Wednesday evening Dr. Biden, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy traveled to Waukesha -- first to the parade memorial, then to Waukesha City Hall to meet with families impacted by the tragedy.

Both Dr. Biden and Mr. Emhoff said they were moved by the stories of survival and resilience. Dr. Biden honored the victims of the parade tragedy and the efforts within the community to support those affected by it.

She says she's here to tell the stories of the lives that changed others. She said, "Though we have been changed by this tragedy, we are not diminished."

Dr. Biden remembered each parade victim individually, listing qualities that made them special, at times quoting scripture. "They continue to shine in every soul who loved them, may their memories bring you joy."

The brief remarks came after the group met privately with affected families and first responders.

Mr. Emhoff said, "It's the love shown, not the tragedy, that will define this community. I'm never going to forget the people I just met, the stories that I just heard and the strength that I witnessed today."

At one point he was visibly emotional, saying, "As a father, and as a son, it's really impossible to meet these families and not think about my own kids and my own parents."

In addition to the victims, Dr. Biden paid tribute to the first responders that helped the wounded that night, and the entire area that she said wrapped their arms around the victims. "We also bear witness today to the light of this community. While there is no logic to this loss, it has left something else in its wake: love. And that defies logic, too."

And she praised the support for the Waukesha fund that has poured in from across the country and around the world.

Dr. Biden closed by looking to the future and the strength of the community. She said, "The grannies keep dancing. The high school band keeps marching and Waukesha is lit up in blue. That is the antidote to the darkness."

Earlier in the afternoon the group traveled to Children's Wisconsin in Wauwatosa to meet with emergency responders from the parade tragedy.

Dr. Biden brought cookies from the White House for the doctors and nurses who treated Waukesha parade victims. She said, "We care about this community and we care about your families."

Dr. Biden, Mr. Emhoff and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy thanked the medical staff at Children's Wisconsin for saving dozens of lives that night, and met the last parade victim still hospitalized. 

"You are part of the critical team that helped support families in some of the most difficult and terrifying moments that anyone can experience," Dr. Murthy said.

They also had a message for Wisconsin parents: get your children vaccinated.

"They're safe. They're effective. They're free. They're available, and they are saving lives," Emhoff said.

And they met some families who got their shots leading up to the visit.

"What a great experience, especially as the mother of two young daughters," Beth Brodzeller said.

As the holiday quickly approaches, Dr. Biden said there's no gift greater than health.

It's not just another way to protect your kids against COVID-19, it's the best way," Biden said.

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