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Images of silence: Remembering the Newtown school victims one week later

Eric Thayer / Reuters

People at the Blue Colony diner observe a moment of silence for victims of the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 21.

Adrees Latif / Reuters

Sandy Hook Village firefighters observe a moment of silence near Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 21. Many Americans remembered the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut, school massacre with a moment of silence on Friday, as a powerful U.S. gun rights lobbying group prepared to plunge into the national debate over gun control.

 Tracy Connor / NBC News -- Twenty-six times the bells tolled Friday, punctuating a moment of silence that descended on Newtown, Conn., and many other communities across the country to mark one week since the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary school.

From white-steepled churches in the Georgia countryside to the majestic National Cathedral in Washington, the peals began at 9:30 a.m. -- the same time last Friday that gunman Adam Lanza began the rampage that tore a hole in the heart of America.

There was one ring for each of the 20 first-graders and six staff members killed by high-powered rifle fire -- and in some places, a 27th ring for Lanza's mother, who owned the guns her son used to kill her, the children and educators, and himself.

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Justin Lane / EPA

Joe Saleem (right), of Mooresville, North Carolina, listens to the ringing of a bell 26 times while standing with others near the steps of Edmond Town Hall during a moment of silence for the children and adults killed a week ago at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 21.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

Connecticut State Police block the road to Sandy Hook Elementary School during a moment of silence in Sandy Hook village on Dec. 21, in Newtown, Conn. People around the United States joined in a moment of silence at 9:30 am to mark the one week anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, while bells also rang 26 times to honor the victims of alleged gunman Adam Lanza, not including his mother Nancy Lanza who was killed at their family home.

Seth Wenig / AP

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy, center, stands with other officials to observe a moment of silence while bells ring 26 times in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 21, in honor of the victims who were killed last Friday during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Mike Segar / Reuters

A man stands beneath an umbrella in a driving rain outside the Edmond Town Hall during a moment of silence and ringing of church bells at 9:30am EDT for the victims of the December 14 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 21.

Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

A nation mourns after the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history at Sandy Hook Elementary, which left 20 children and six staff members dead.