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PHOTO: Photographer Pete Souza Remembers Obama After Sandy Hook

It's been five years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, when gunman Adam Lanza fatally shot and killed 20 students and six faculty members within five minutes.


As the nation continues to grieve and the debate over stricter gun control remains contentious, former chief White House photographer Pete Souza released a never-before-seen photograph of former President Barack Obama in a despondent state inside the Oval Office.

In Souza's new book, Obama: An Intimate Portrait, the photographer said that December 14, 2012, was the "worst day" of Obama's presidency.

Souza told People, “[The shooting] affected me in a profound way that no other situation in the eight years did. I can feel my eyes tearing up now just talking to you about it,” adding, “It certainly affected [President Obama] … He cried on stage one time reliving that because I think he was reacting not just as a president, but as a parent.”

"It was about a month since he had been reelected to a second term, so there was that sort of afterglow that was still being felt, I think, throughout the White House," an emotional Souza told Business Insider.

It was also Christmastime at the White House, so there were these decorations, and Christmas trees, a very festive time of year. And word began to come out that there had been the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Homeland Security Advisor, John Brennan, delivered the devastating news to the president.

In the picture, you see just kind of the energy just zap out of the president. I think he was thinking of this not only as a president, but imagining what it must be like as a parent. The horror of sending your six-year-old kid off to school, you put him on the school bus and you never see them again because some crazy guy shot them to death, point-blank, at their school.

So I think it was a very ... he was very emotional and just thinking about this as a fellow parent, almost more so than as a president.

The former chief photographer also revealed that moments later, Obama struggled to maintain his composure and cried while issuing a statement on the tragedy.

Five years later, there is no progress on gun restrictions.

Second Amendment advocates insist that possessing firearms save more lives.

Will America ever feel safe again?

David Wheeler, who lost his 6-year-old son Bejamin, still grapples with the event that claimed his son's life. He told the NY Times, "One of the things an event like this does — it doesn’t change you, it simply heightens who you already are. There are beautiful, meaningful, thoughtful and very kind gestures at every turn, from people you know well and people you don’t know at all.”

Abbey Clements, who was a second grade teacher at Sandy Hook, said, "We work really hard to be resilient and strong. And I think it’s O.K. to recognize that we’re still grieving, and that we should never forget. We don’t want to forget.”

Though the pain is palpable after five years since the shooting, Newtown strives to stay strong. Small miracles like charity organizations started by the parents of the Sandy Hook victims keep the community tight, and residents keep their eyes towards the hope of a brighter future.

Today, we see one of the reasons why Obama is missed.

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H/T - BusinessInsider, Twitter, People, BusinessInsider2