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Obama honours six staff killed in Newtown school massacre

Published on Feb 16, 2013 6:11 AM
US President Barack Obama (right) consoles Mr Carlos Soto (left) and Mrs Donna Soto, parents of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Victoria Soto, as they receive the Presidential Citizens Medal posthumously in her honor in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Feb 15, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama marked a poignant moment in his push to curb gun violence as he awarded presidential medals posthumously on Friday to six educators killed in the Newtown school massacre, saying they gave their lives to protect "the most innocent and helpless among us".

Consoling tearful relatives as they stepped on stage at the White House, Mr Obama paid homage to the four teachers and two administrators killed in the Dec 14 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, a tragedy that sparked nationwide calls for tighter gun control laws.

Though Mr Obama made no public mention of his gun-control drive, the solemn ceremony unfolded against the backdrop of vocal resistance from gun advocates and their supporters on Capitol Hill to any new restrictions.

In private, however, the president was said to have assured victims' relatives: "We're really trying to get something done."

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