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Each moment President Barack Obama is in his private study in the White House, there is a reminder nearby of Grace McDonnell, a 7-year-old Newtown girl who hoped to one day grow up to be a painter.
Grace was killed on the morning of Friday, Dec. 14, along with 19 of her classmates and six staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School, when a gunman went on a rampage through the school.
Two days after the shooting, President Obama traveled to Newtown to meet privately with the victims’ families and attend an interfaith ceremony.
During that trip, he met Grace’s family and learned about the little girl who hoped to one day be a painter living on Martha’s Vineyard, where she would spend time with her family each summer.
“Grace was 7 years old when she was struck down — this gorgeous, caring, joyful little girl,” Obama said on Wednesday during a news conference about gun control in the wake of the shooting.
“I’m told she loved pink, she loved the beach, she dreamed of becoming a painter,” Obama said.
Before the president left Newtown, Grace’s father, Chris, gave him one of Grace’s paintings.
“I hung it in my private study, just out of the Oval Office. And every time I look at that painting, I think about Grace, and I think about the life that she lived, and the life that lay ahead of her, and most of all, I think about how, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now – for Grace, for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give,” Obama said.
While the president has a visual reminder of Grace, a fund has been set up in her memory.
If you would like to make a donation to the Grace McDonnell Memorial Fund at FCCF, you can mail it to Fairfield County Community Foundation, 383 Main Avenue, Norwalk CT 06851.