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An emotional President Obama shed tears as he addressed the nation from the White House over the tragic school shooting in Connecticut that left 27 people dead, 20 of them children.

“Our hearts are broken today,” said President Obama. While he said today was not the day for a discusson on gun control, he mentioned the need for “meaningful action” to prevent such shootings, saying our country has “been through this too many times.”

“The majority of those who died were children — beautiful, little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,” said Obama as his voice cracked. He then paused for several seconds to keep his composure and wipe his eyes.

“They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” the president said of those who were killed.

He ordered that U.S. flags be flown at half-staff on public grounds through Tuesday.

“Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter,” he said. “But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all us of right now.”

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