President Speaks At Newtown Service

President Barack Obama makes an emotional address during a vigil in the Newtown High School auditorium. In front of the President are candles representing those who died during Friday's attack at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Hundreds of local residents, including grieving families and first responders, filled the hall Sunday night. (STEPHEN DUNN, Hartford Courant / December 16, 2012)

"I think it shows human side of president -- he's a president but also a father and a husband and I think just showing [the] world [that] ..." Bennett said, and Campbell finished: "It's not about politics."

Bennet said he is friends with the family of Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6, one of the victims in the shooting because he shares a church with her father, Jimmie Greene.

"He and his wife were the first people I met in Connecticut," he said. "They've been there for me during really hard times ... I just wanted to come out and do whatever I could."

Jacquie Small, of Bridgeport, was drawn to Newtown on Sunday. "I'm a mother, and words cannot express my feelings for [families] who lost loved ones. I just came to share my grief with them so that's a reason why I'm here tonight. I didn't care if it was rain, snow, sleet storm, I would still have been here."

Earlier in the day, people traveled from around the region to mourn in Newtown. Kerry Stewart came from West Hartford with his wife, Mary Lynn, and daughter, Grace.

"We just felt, as a family, we wanted to come down," he said. Stewart is a teacher at the prison in Newtown. His wife is a school nurse. "You just want to go home and hug your kid."

Mary Lynn looked at the bells hung from a large pine tree, one that was strung with lights for Christmas. Each bell had the name of a victim, and said "Angel at 6" or "Angel at 7."

Barbara McDonald came from Waterbury with her sister and her niece.

"My daughter is petrified to go to school tomorrow," McDonald said. She told the 9-year-old to "just pray," she said. McDonald and her sister, Nadia Facey, are both paraprofessionals in Waterbury schools.

"I'm here because I just feel like I need to be here. I can't describe it," said Trish Blazi of Middlebury, wiping tears from her eyes. "These poor parents. Once this town has emptied out ... Right now, the support of the whole country is around them. When that's gone, what do you do?"

People thronged makeshift memorials much of Sunday, even in a downpour in the late morning. That was when golden retrievers from the Lutheran Church Charities K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry arrived from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Portage, Ind.

"We're here to give some emotional support," handler Dan Fulkerson said. "Wherever we're needed, we go."

Reporting by Jenny Wilson, The Associated Press and the White House pool report are included in this account.