US President Barack Obama on Friday honored the teachers and staff who were killed alongside 20 children they tried to save during December's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Teachers Dawn Hochsprung, Lauren Rousseau, Victoria Soto and Rachel Davino, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and teaching assistant Anne Marie Murphy died when gunman Adam Lanza went on a rampage at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.
They were represented at a ceremony at the White House by relatives as Obama posthumously awarded them the Presidential Citizen's Medal, America's second highest civilian honor.
Obama, who is pursuing a range of gun control measures in the wake of the school tragedy, praised the heroism of the slain teachers.
"I've gotten to know many of you during the course of some very difficult weeks, and your courage and love for each other and your communities shines through every single day," Obama said.
"We could not be more blessed and grateful for your loved ones who gave everything they had on behalf of our kids."