They are the heroes of Sandy Hook elementary. The brave women who selflessly laid down their lives for their beloved students.
On Sunday night's vigil, President Obama named the heroes one by one. "We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school's staff did not flinch. They did not hesitate. Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy. They responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances," said the President.
Principal Dawn Hocksprung hurled herself at the killer in a desperate attempt to stop him. The slain principal's daughter tweeted: "My mom would be so proud to see President Obama holding her granddaughter, but not as proud as I am of her."
The killer's first target was Lauren Rousseau's first grade classroom. The 30-year-old had just been hired full-time in October and her mom said she was having 'the best year of her life'. She was killed with 14 of her students.
Madman Adam Lanza then strode into Victoria Soto's classroom where she had hidden her first graders in a closet. When the gunman demanded to know where they were, she told him they were in the cafeteria.
One mom said, “She is a truly a hero - if not for her, my son would be dead."
When Victoria's sister, Jillian, learned of her sister's death, it was a heartbreaking image of unimaginable grief.
Six of Victoria's kids tried to escape, but the brave little ones were shot down. Among them was six-year-old Jessie Lewis. His proud grieving dad said, "My son thought he could conquer the world. He had no fear of anything at all".
Also killed was teacher's aide, 27-year-old Rachel Davino. Her boyfriend had just asked her parents for permission to marry her. He was going to pop the question on Christmas Eve.
These brave women are an inspiration to us all. They stood up to evil with extraordinary courage.