Sandy Hook victims: America"s night of grief as citizens unite for candle-lit vigils

America's night of grief: Citizens unite as they attend candle-lit vigils to remember the 26 Sandy Hook victims Paper lanterns were released into sky at a vigil in Omaha, Nebraska
Hundreds attended Newtown High School to see President Barack Obama preside over an interfaith worship vigil

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UPDATED:

16:23 GMT, 17 December 2012

Americans were united in their grief last night as they attended vigils to remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Many people lit candles as they stood in the dark clutching candles while silently reflecting on the tragic events of last Friday.

Paper lanterns were released into the night sky during a vigil in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Packed house: Sharon Bertrand, center, listens with her daughter Daysha, 13, left, and son Juan, to a memorial service over a loudspeaker outside Newtown High School

Packed house: Sharon Bertrand, center, listens with her daughter Daysha, 13, left, and son Juan, to a memorial service over a loudspeaker outside Newtown High School

Memories: New London, Connecticut resident Rachel Pullen, center, kisses her son Landon DeCecco at a memorial

Memories: New London, Connecticut resident Rachel Pullen, center, kisses her son Landon DeCecco at a memorial

Pausing to reflect: A 3-year-old girl is accompanied by her father while lighting a candle outside of Newton High School while President Obama spoke at the memorial service

Pausing to reflect: A 3-year-old girl is accompanied by her father while lighting a candle outside of Newton High School while President Obama spoke at the memorial service

United: Members of the Sikh community hold a candlelight vigil outside Newtown High School

United: Members of the Sikh community hold a candlelight vigil before Mr Obama's arrival

Remembrance: Attendees release paper lanterns during a vigil for victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska

Remembrance: Attendees release paper lanterns during a vigil for victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting yesterday in Omaha, Nebraska

Last night hundreds of people huddled in a miserable drizzle as they waited in line at Newtown High School to see President Barack Obama preside over an interfaith worship vigil.

Families lined up started as early as 3.30pm or 4pm, even though President Obama did not take the stage until shortly before 8pm.

Several members of the audience clutched red cross blankets around their shoulders as they huddled together, many of them breaking down in tears throughout the service.

The same blankets were handed out while the attendees waited in the long line that wrapped around the building and snaked through the parking lot before heading inside to get settled for the service.

Vigil: Kate Suba, left, Jaden Albrecht, center, and Simran Chand pay their respects at one of the makeshift memorials

Vigil: Kate Suba, left, Jaden Albrecht, center, and Simran Chand pay their respects at one of the makeshift memorials

Devastated: Mourners react as they stand in front of a memorial for the victims

Devastated: Mourners react as they stand in front of a memorial for the victims

Remembrance: A mourner places joss sticks at a memorial for victims

Remembrance: A mourner places joss sticks at a memorial for victims

You are not alone in your grief. Our world too has been torn apart,' President Obama said.

'All across this land our world too
has been torn apart. All across this land we wept with you and pulled
our children tight. Newtown, you are not alone.'

In one of the most religious speeches
of his presidency, Mr Obama talked about how the ultimate goal for a
society is to protect their children.

Tragic: Flowers and gifts left at the makeshift memorial outside the location of the interfaith vigil

Tragic: Flowers and gifts left at the makeshift memorial outside the location of the interfaith vigil

All one: Americans were united in their grief last night as they attended vigils to remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting

All one: Americans were united in their grief last night as they attended vigils to remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting

'If we don't get that right, we don't
get anything right. /12/17/article-0-168BBD86000005DC-448_634x423.jpg” width=”634″ height=”423″ alt=”Comfort: Mourners place candles and stuffed toy animals at a spot of remembrance ” class=”blkBorder” />

Comfort: Mourners place candles and stuffed toy animals at a spot of remembrance

Support: Women embrace at a vigil held at Newtown High School for families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims

Support: Women embrace at a vigil held at Newtown High School for families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims

Poignant: A young boy places a candle with others at the base of a flagpole outside Newtown High School before the interfaith vigil

Poignant: A young boy places a candle with others at the base of a flagpole outside Newtown High School before the interfaith vigil

Deep sobs and sniffles filled the
room throughout the service – but tears did not truly begin until Jason
Graves took the podium to offer a Muslim prayer on behalf of the Al
Hedeya Islamic Center of Newtown.

Mr Graves' voice choked and crackled as he assured the mourners that God's love was there for anyone asked for it.

Adults and children sitting in the
audience, who initially turned their faces away as a prayer was recited
in Arabic, were reduced to deep sorrowful cries.

Reflection: With tears in his eyes, 11-year-old David Clarence leans on his aunt, Jennifer Walton, as they stand in silent reflection

Reflection: With tears in his eyes, 11-year-old David Clarence leans on his aunt, Jennifer Walton, as they stand in silent reflection

Just three days after the young
children were gunned down in their classrooms, a half-dozen of their
bodies are now being prepared for coffins as the first funerals will be
held today.

The first funeral today is that of Noah Pozner, the youngest of the 16 six-year-old victims.

The funeral for his friend Jack Pinto
will be held at the same time at a Newtown facility, and a wake will be
held for James Mattioli, also 6-years-old, later this afternoon.

Grief: A woman cries at a makeshift memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School

Grief: A woman cries at a makeshift memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School

Respect: A woman lights candles at a makeshift memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the mass shooting took place

Respect: A woman lights candles at a makeshift memorial near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the mass shooting took place

James and fellow Catholic student
Jessica Rekos will both have funeral services at St. Rose of Lima
Church on Tuesday, and Rachel D'Avino is going to be buried in
neighboring Watertown that same day.

The first adult victim's funeral will
take place on Wednesday when the 27-year-old heroic teacher Victoria
Soto has her service. Student Daniel Barden will have his funeral on the
same day.

Those are just six of the 20 funerals
for the student victims that the town's clergy need to coordinate and
host in the coming week, a task so daunting that 100 funeral directors
from across the state have volunteered to help the process.

Some have donated use of their
hearses and time, while coffin manufacturers have given
heart-wrenchingly small child-sized caskets for the victims.

Warmth in cold times: The Red Cross provided blankets for attendees to wrap around themselves and stuffed animals for many of the children who were in the audience

Warmth in cold times: The Red Cross provided blankets for attendees to wrap around themselves and stuffed animals for many of the children who were in the audience

Attention: Mourners listen to a memorial service over a loudspeaker outside Newtown High School

Attention: Mourners listen to a memorial service over a loudspeaker outside Newtown High School

VIDEO 'Words can not match depth of your sorrow' Obama attends vigil…

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