Mourners across the nation observed a moment of silence on Friday, just one week after the fatal shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. that claimed the lives of 20 children and six educators. Gov. Dannel P. Mallory and other state officials gathered at the community’s Edmond Town Hall as a bell rang 26 times in memory of the innocent victims.
The White House said President Obama also privately observed the moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. ET, tweeting the following message just moments before:
“20 beautiful children & 6 remarkable adults. Together, we will carry on & make our country worthy of their memory. -bo #MomentForSandyHook”
On Thursday, the Hartford Courant published a heartfelt open letter penned by First Lady Michelle Obama for the residents of Newtown. She wrote:
“Over the past week, we as Americans have been united in our grief as Newtown has laid to rest so many beautiful, innocent children, along with the heroic educators who worked every day to help them achieve their dreams.
As a mother of two young daughters, my heart aches for you and your families. Like so many Americans, I wish there were something — anything — I could do or say to ease your anguish.
But I know that I cannot begin to imagine the depths of your grief. I know that for many of you, the pain you are enduring right now seems unbearable; and many of you may be asking yourselves, how can we go on — as families and as a community?
Over the past week, I have been awed and inspired by Newtown’s heroes: the first responders who risked their lives at a moment’s notice; the educators whose devotion to their students shone brightest in one of our nation’s darkest hours; the children who comforted each other despite their fear; the families coming together to support each other as they grieve.
And I am so proud of the outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of America: from first responders from neighboring cities rushing to help however they could; from people in Cleveland and Charlotte and Juneau and so many other communities joining together to honor Newtown with their thoughts and prayers; and in living rooms and houses of worship and the halls of our government, where we are beginning to have those difficult conversations about how we can build a safer, more peaceful tomorrow for all our children.