While being escorted out of Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday, children were instructed to hold hands and close their eyes. Perhaps too many people tried to talk to them, maybe, but as the Newtown tragedy unfolded, Americans couldn't look away from one of the worst school shootings in history. Here's what we saw.

The first emotional image came early, from Shannon Hicks at The Newtown Bee. (AP)


(AP)


One of the most circulated images of the day was shot by Michelle McLoughlin, showing two clearly shaken children waiting outside Sandy Hook. (Reuters)


Then came the images of relieved parents reuniting with their safe children... (AP)


(Reuters)


... and heartbreaking ones of those still waiting to hear about the status of the students and teachers inside. (AP)


(AP)


Federal law enforcement officials swept into Newtown. (AP)


(AP)


A .223 caliber rifle, the same calibre of one of three weapons that alleged gunman Adam Lanza used at Sandy Hook. (AP)


The media and emergency responders descend upon Newtown. (AP)

 

Our own Elspeth Reeve posted this gif of the President wiping away tears during a press conference. 


Flags — in Newtown and throughout the country — will fly at half-mast until December 18, 2012, following the President's national directive. (Reuters)