(CNN) - Legislators from around the country rose to the microphone in the House and Senate Monday with heavy hearts in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shooting that left 20 young students and six adults dead.
Both sides of the capitol observed a moment of silence and members from around the country offered tributes.
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Rep. Chris Murphy, whose district includes the Newtown school, shared stories of the faculty members who have been lauded by many as heroes and students whose lives were cut short.
"Little Noah Pozner was buried this morning by his parents and by his family," Murphy said. "Noah was an amazing little 6-year-old, not unlike most other precocious 6-year-olds.
He loved role playing, he was mischievous, he was smart as a whip. He always talked about what he wanted to do in life. What he wanted to be. One day he'd say he wanted to be a doctor. Another day he'd say he wanted to be a police officer. Most days his mom said he wanted to be a taco store owner. He loved tacos. That was his dream," Murphy continued.
The House approved his resolution condemning the attack, offering condolences to the community, and recognized the service of school staff and first responders.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut motioned to show the deceased children's height: "They're that big. They're that big."
"Within minutes the actions of a young and mentally ill man [had] devastated a small town community, broken the hearts of millions across the country and murdered six teachers and administrators and 20 children - innocent children, all of them between 6 and 7 years old," she said.
Her colleague, Rep. John Larson, also of Connecticut, recounted "the complete and utter despair when your child was not one of the kids who came out" alive from the school.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell each offered their reflections.
"Twenty little girls and boys. Twenty little daughters and sons, sisters, brothers, friends and playmates. Twenty children who will never grow up to learn to drive, go on that first date, graduate from high school," Reid said.
McConnell said, "What happened in Newtown on Friday is something no parent of a young child could ever prepare for. But I think President Obama spoke for all of us in the very moving meditation he offered last night on the singularity of parental love. There is literally nothing we wouldn't do for our kids and that's one of the things that makes this massacre so terrible, and makes the stories of courage we've heard so inspiring."
Larson and others spoke not only about the loss and heroism, but about the need for action. Several members have said they will offer or support legislation restricting access to assault weapons.
"The world is watching the United States Congress and we have a responsibility to respond in the most comprehensive way," he said.
David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama, e-mailed video of the president's Sunday night address at the Newtown vigil to his campaign's extensive email list. "As we reflect on the lives lost last week, we must also, as the President urged, consider how each of us can play a part in making our country worthy of the memory of those little children," Axelrod wrote. The message could offer a clue as to how Obama might harness public support to push legislation through the Congress.
The Senate chaplain called for the body to "act promptly" on measures so that a killing such as this might not happen again – an unusually political statement from the chaplain.
Murphy accepted the condolences of other members and shared a story from the weekend.
"On Sunday morning, Senator [Richard] Blumenthal and I went to a local church service and a guy grabbed us and said, 'make sure this never ever happens again,' " he recounted. "The honest truth is we can't make sure, but we can make it much less likely and certainly find ways to make sure if someone does slip through the cracks and they set themselves on the path of destruction, the destruction is no where near the scale we saw in Newtown.
"We are grieving right now and going to join this process of figuring out where we go from here very soon but it helps to know that we have the support and the love and the sympathy and the thoughts of the United States House of Representatives."