One year ago today, a gunman shot and killed 20 1st graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in a shocking burst of violence that prompted worldwide mourning and frantic calls to rein in gun violence in the United States.
A year later, little has changed in terms of policy, as my colleague Evie Blad has reported.
And so this "painful anniversary serves as a powerful reminder of the need for all of us to work collectively to reduce violence and to do all that is in our power to prevent future tragedies," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement today. Throughout his career—especially when he was in charge of Chicago Public Schools—Duncan has lobbied for tighter gun laws. In his statement today, he said:
"The unspeakable loss of 20 beautiful, innocent 1st graders and six caring, courageous adults can never be undone and should never be forgotten.
Yet as the nation and Newtown continue to mourn their loss, let us all extend our heartfelt sympathy and ongoing support to the victims' families and to the survivors left behind by the shootings of last December. No parent, no child, no school, and no community should ever have to suffer this senseless violence, anguish, and overwhelming loss.
The community of Newtown has asked that this anniversary be marked by a renewed and respectful commitment to acts of service and kindness to honor and show love for those whose lives were taken. That is a fitting tribute.
This painful anniversary serves as a powerful reminder of the need for all of us to work collectively to reduce violence and to do all that is in our power to prevent future tragedies."
President Barack Obama will lead the country in a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m., which is about the time the first gunshots were heard in the school.