NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The chiming of 26 bells reverberated throughout Newtown on Friday commemorating one week since 20 children and six adults were killed in a mass shooting that has shaken the community and the nation to its core.
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Gov. Dan Malloy gathered with other officials on the steps of the town hall as the bell rang in memory of each life lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Taking deep breaths with his hands folded in front of him, Malloy was joined by the Newtown superintendent of schools,
lawmakers and other officials as bells rang out at the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church.
“I have four school-aged children. One of them is in kindergarten. I was choking back tears the entire time,” said mourner Dana Coleman.
Traffic stopped in the streets and firefighters bowed their heads around a memorial filled with teddy bears, other stuffed animals and a New York Giants pillow. Some hugged and onlookers shook their hands afterward.
“When I heard the 26 bells ring, it just melted my soul,” said Kerrie Glassman of Sandy Hook, who said she knew seven of the victims. “It’s just overwhelming. You just can’t believe this happened in our town.”
In New York City, bells at the historic Trinity Church near the World Trade Center tolled 28 times and in Massachusetts, bells in churches around the state, including Boston’s historic Old North Church, rang in honor of those killed in the attack.
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“I think we sort of forgot some things. Everybody’s in a rush to move around and we lost some lives for no reason,” Roland Uruchi from Staten Island told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.
Five more funerals were also held Friday — 7-year-old Grace McDonnell, 6-year-old Olivia Engel, 6-year-old Dylan Hockley, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and behavioral therapist Rachel D’Avino were all laid to rest.
“The town is in the middle of its grieving process with the funerals and the wakes, it’s taking a toll on everybody,” said Mike Burton with the Sandy Hook Fire Department.READ MORE: Exclusive Video: Good Samaritans Rescue Wheelchair-Bound Man Who Somehow Fell On Union Square Subway Tracks
From around the world, decorative snowflakes are pouring in to the headquarters of Connecticut’s Parent Teacher Association — a small gesture in hopes of making a big impact on the children of Sandy Hook elementary.
When they relocate to a new school in January, the decorations will be posted all over the building.
Just a week after the attack, gun control has taken a front burner in Congress, where previous mass shootings produced only minimal legislative reaction. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the Obama administration would push to tighten gun laws.
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“Even if we can only save one life, we have to take action,” he said.
The National Rifle Association, at its first public event since the shootings, called Friday for armed police officers to be posted
in American school to stop the next killer “waiting in the wings.”
Authorities said gunman Adam Lanza shot his mother at their home and then took her car and some of her guns to the school, where he broke in and opened fire. A Connecticut official said Nancy Lanza was shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.
Investigators have found no letters or diaries that could explain the rampage.
For some, the pain of last week’s shooting is still beyond words. For others, the hope remains that something good can come out of the tragedy.
“I don’t want people to remember Newtown as a terrible place,” said former resident Katlin Hall. “I want people to remember Newtown as the reason things changed.”
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