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US school shooting remembered with Washington vigil

Published on Dec 13, 2013 10:22 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Hundreds solemnly gathered in Washington's National Cathedral on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the Newtown school massacre and demand tougher action to halt gun violence in the United States.

Pop icon Carole King performed her 1977 song In The Name Of Love on the piano at the late-afternoon vigil, which organisers hoped would pull the media spotlight away from the New England town where 20 first-grade pupils and six educators were killed. Poignantly, the event also heard a violin and piano rendition of Imagine by John Lennon, shot and killed in New York 33 years ago this month.

"We gather to say, 'No more'," said Reverend Mel Kawakami of the Newtown United Methodist Church, as the predominantly older gathering lit candles, sang hymns and shared stories of other incidents of gun violence.

Reverend Gary Hall, dean of the Episcopal cathedral, called on the nation's elected leaders "to find the moral courage and the political will" to enact tougher gun laws. In the 12 months since Newtown, he said, some 32,000 people have died in the United States in gun-related incidents.

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