President Obama, attending another service for victims of mass shootings and trying to mend a country riven by distrust between citizens and police, paid tribute to five Dallas police officers ambushed at a protest last week, saying their deaths should remind Americans of the country's greatest ideals.
The same spirit, Obama said, was evident in the attack's aftermath, when a white mayor and black police chief worked together to heal their city.
He spoke of the thankless work done by police officers around the country, and of the legitimate grievances that many black people feel from years of discrimination, including at the hands of law enforcement. But he also gave the country a pep talk, urging citizens not to lose hope in the past week's squall of violence that began with black men killed by white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota and culminated with the officers' killings on Thursday.
"We see all this and its hard not to think the center won't hold and things won't get worse," he said. "I understand. But Dallas, I'm here to say we must reject such despair. I'm here to insist we're not as divided as we seem. I know that because I know America. I know how far we've come despite impossible odds.