Barack Obama wept as he addressed the nation in the aftermath of the school shootings in Connecticut.
And a day after the shooting, the US President used his weekly address to call for solidarity in the wake of the massacre, where 20 children and seven adults were killed.
Many of those killed in the shooting in the small town of Newtown were between the ages of five and 10 .
On Friday, Mr Obama paused repeatedly as he struggled to keep his composure while speaking of the children who had been killed and the milestones in their lives they would never have - birthdays, graduations, weddings.
"Our hearts are broken today," he said, at times using a finger to wipe tears at the corners of his eyes.
Mr Obama said he had reacted to news of the elementary school shooting first as a parent.
He added that he and First Lady Michelle would do what any other parent in America would do - "hug our children a little tighter".
Mr Obama called for "meaningful action" regardless of politics.
"As a country, we have been through this too many times," he said in the televised address from the White House.
Mr Obama said in his weekly address that Americans need to "come together" to prevent tragedies like the school massacre, one of the worst mass shootings in US history.
"While nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need - to remind them that we are there for them; that we are praying for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country," he said.
"Every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt.
"We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child's innocence has been torn away far too early."
Mr Obama said the tragedy was all too familiar, after similar deadly shootings at a shopping mall in Oregon, at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and at a cinema in Colorado earlier this year.
He did not give details, but some US politicians called for a serious look at gun control laws , a subject which Mr Obama did not tackle strongly in his first term.