NEW ORLEANS - As 26 children in white polo shirts excitedly walked to center of the Superdome field and prepared to sing, a packed Super Bowl crowd revved up by a day of partying in the Big Easy fell silent.
The chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School, nearly two months removed from a deadly shooting rampage, joined Jennifer Hudson to deliver a stirring rendition of "America the Beautiful" on Sunday that had some players on the sideline and countless fans in the stands on the verge of tears.
Judging by the responses on social media, the performance appeared destined to become one of the most poignant memories of the Super Bowl, regardless of what played out in the game.
"Sandy hook elementary chorus singing America the beautiful and Alicia keys national anthem makes me proud to be American," model Kate Upton said on her Twitter page.
"We have come to New Orleans to represent the Sandy Hook Family and the community of Newtown, Connecticut," a statement from the school said. "Our wish is to demonstrate to America and the world that, 'We are Sandy Hook and We Choose Love.'"
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh watched with his left arm around daughter, Alison, and his right hand over his heart.
Ravens nose tackle Terrence Cody could be seen on the stadium's video board tilting his head back, appearing to hold back tears.
Fans offered a rousing ovation at the finish, and the chorus then trotted to the 20-yard line and turned, with their hands on their hearts, to watch Alicia Keys sing the national anthem.
ASSOCIATED PRESSEtch A Sketch inventor dies at 86
Andre Cassagnes, a French electrical technician who half a century ago invented Etch A Sketch, the mechanical drawing toy that has lately become a U.S. political simile, died on Jan. 16 near Paris. He was 86. The Ohio Art Co., which makes Etch A Sketch, announced the death.
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