Newtown Remembers Victims with 26 Bell Tolls

The grieving community marks the first anniversary of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary

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Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A makeshift memorial with crosses for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre stands outside a home in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, 2013.

Bells rang out 26 times in Newtown, Conn. Saturday, in remembrance of the number of lives that were taken a year ago in one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.

Each victim’s name was read aloud as the bell was struck during a haunting memorial service at a church, the Associated Press reports. The community, which asked the nation for privacy to mark the one-year anniversary, hosted several religious services throughout the town to honor the 20 children and six educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary one year ago.

President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address to urge Americans to put a stop to future violence, just one day after a Colorado student opened fire on his Denver suburb high school, injuring one before killing himself. “We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for,” Obama said. He also observed a moment of silence and lit candles at the White House to remember the tragedy.

In an effort to keep the day a private mourning for friends and family of the victims, Newtown officials did not host any formal memorial events.

Newtown is still grieving over last year’s tragedy, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother at their Newtown home before his elementary school massacre. He killed himself before police could apprehend him.