The sound of silence is quite rare in Washington where talk is currency.
So it was perhaps the highest honor that the city can pay to the victims of the Arizona shooting by standing still for a moment of silence.
President Barack Obama and the first lady stood heads bowed, joined by about 300 White House staffers on the South Lawn. A bell tolled three times.
Lawmakers and congressional staff gathered on the steps of the Capitol to remember the victims that included two of their own — congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman who was killed, and congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is fighting to recover.
“In the coming days we’re going to have a lot of time to reflect,” Obama said in the Oval Office before talking about his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Sarkozy’s first words were about the shooting: “I, first of all, want to say to the American people how deeply moved and upset the French people have been at your loss and tragedy.”