The families of the teachers, staff and principal killed during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December were honored posthumously and given 2012 Presidential Citizens Medals at the White House on Friday morning.
On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother at their home, then went to Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 children and adults.
The awards, which were presented by President Barack Obama, were received by the surviving family members of Rachel Davino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach and Victoria Soto.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who attended the ceremony, released a statement on the medals.
"These extraordinary educators, who sacrificed their lives to protect students in their care, gave a profound new dimension to the meaning of public service," he said in a statement Friday. "All of America has been awed by the story of their strength, bravery and caring reflected in this honor."
Blumenthal said there was "thunderous applause" at the ceremony for the Newtown teachers.
"We owe it to them to act on gun violence," he tweeted.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro also attended the event and Victoria Soto's brother Carlos Soto was her guest at the State of the Union this week.
"I am honored to have witnessed such a beautiful ceremony that celebrated the courage and commitment that the six women killed at Sandy Hook showed to their students that fateful day," she said in statement Friday. "And it was great to see the Sotos, and other Newtown families, who have shown such grace and bravery in speaking out during their time of immense pain. Though there are no words that can ease the families' suffering, I hope they can take some small comfort in the knowledge that they will always be remembered as heroes."
The Presidential Citizens Medal is presented to "citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens," according to the White House website.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved
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