Before pausing to remember the Connecticut school tragedy a year ago Saturday, the president and first lady Michelle Obama lit 26 votive candles set up on a table in the Map Room - one candle for each of the 20 children and six staff members who were killed.
In his weekly radio address released hours earlier, Obama said the nation hasn't done enough to make its communities safer by keeping dangerous people from getting guns and healing troubled minds.
Gun restrictions backed by the president in response to the shooting faced stiff opposition from the National Rifle Association and ultimately stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Obama said real change won't come from Washington, but from the American people pushing for change
Obama said that the massacre will be remembered as a tragedy that inspired the nation to make communities safer.
"We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for," said Obama, who also observed a moment of silence at the White House in honor of the victims.
In the Republican weekly address, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania describes how his wife tried to shop for a new health insurance plan for their family, but the exchange she tried to access would not allow her to browse various options. He says the experience was a fiasco other Americans across the country are facing.