The Nation Mourns
America responds to Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut
President Obama spoke at a memorial service in Newtown, CT, honoring the 27 victims of Friday’s tragic attack. (Evan Vucci / AP Images)
People around the country gathered this weekend to remember the victims of a deadly attack in Connecticut. On Friday, a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown resulted in 27 deaths, including students and staff at the school.
Residents of Newtown created a memorial at the school. Visitors left behind flowers and teddy bears in memory of the victims. Organizations such as United Way have begun collecting donations that will aid family members of victims. Another group is raising money to go to Sandy Hook’s Parent Teacher Association.
President Obama flew to Connecticut on Sunday to participate in a memorial service for the victims. In a packed auditorium at Newtown High School, he offered the condolences, or sympathy, of the nation to the devastated community. “I can only hope that it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief,” the President said. “All across this land of ours, we have wept with you.” He also promised to work to keep America’s children safe from tragedies like this in the future.
Other nations have also offered their sympathy. World leaders such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth have expressed their sorrow over Friday’s tragedy.
An adult at the school called 911 when the attack began Friday morning. Medical workers arrived quickly to help people who were injured and keep everyone safe. Police helped bring students to a nearby firehouse, where parents were waiting to take their children home.
This kind of public violence is extremely rare. But emergency plans are made to keep people as safe as possible when violent events like this one happen. Police immediately evacuated the school and cleared the area. Other schools in Newtown, Connecticut, and in nearby towns were closed, and students were kept inside to stay safe.
Teachers and school staff acted bravely, and tried hard to keep everyone safe. One mother, Brenda Lebinski, thanked her 8-year-old daughter’s teacher for protecting her students. When the class heard gunfire, the teacher asked students to move into a closet to stay safe.
“My daughter’s teacher is my hero,” Lebinski told a local reporter. “She . . . saved their lives.”
TEACHER AND PARENT RESOURCES
Below are links to information from child development experts about how best to talk with kids about violent events.