The White House has released the US President Barack Obama's year in pictures, taken by inhouse photographer Pete Souza.
It includes the moment Obama found out about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December.
Twenty young children and six adults were killed at the small town school when a man went on a rampage, before killing himself.
On the day Obama held an emotional press conference during which broke down several times, saying American's hearts were broken by the tragedy.
Understandably, so many Americans were deeply upset at this tragedy. My close friend from my early mountaineering days in Peru, John E.S. Lawrence, expressed his grief by playing music at the roadside in Connecticut where he lives.
He wrote me this on a Christmas message:
"I'm not sure why, but have two greetings to dear friends this Christmas season.. and one is a warning..
my own state of residence, the state of Connecticut, one of the wealthiest and supposedly most progressive in the US, has experienced a grievous, and deep wound … first grade children and their public protectors targeted, not by external adversaries, but by one of our own..
our most precious resource, carried to term nine months in their own maternal bodies by focused, devoted young mothers, then thriving, nurtured for the next six years by caring families…
finally, the cocoon is broken, released…. with enormous trepidation, hesitation, but confidence…..this treasure for the first time, is released with trust into the public square of schooling…. God only knows what pain accrues to those most trusting when their trust is violated so early, so cruelly, and so inexplicably…
my one card from the back of my car, in Newtown last Sunday, humbly tries to express, however feebly, sympathy with that agony…I cried like so many others, repeatedly, uncontrollably at this toxin creeping into our innocents….and went up to play in the very cold rain….crying as I played, but touching nevertheless several souls who seemed grateful…
my second celebrates indefatigable hope…. our beloved grandson Robi doing his thing, magically six years old, achieving wobbly navigation down the Puerto Rican beach this afternoon with his totally neurotic beagle dog..