WASHINGTON, D.C. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- For only the second time since taking office, President Barack Obama was absent from his Weekly Address as the mother of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Sandy Hook shooting took his place.
Francine Wheeler sat beside her husband, David, as she delivered a tear-filled plea to Americans to contact their representatives about gun legislation currently being weighed in Congress.
Wheeler remembered her youngest son Ben's final day of life, saying he wanted to be both an architect and a paleontologist. She also recalled him running across the soccer field, singing, and playing at his third and final piano recital.
Ben was one of 20 children and six adults killed inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
"I've heard people say that the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on 12/14 has receded, but not for us," said Wheeler. "To us, it feels as if it happened just yesterday and in the four months since we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans have died at the end of a gun."
Through her grief, Wheeler says she feels her son giving her the courage to do what she has to do.
"We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that would make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us," said Wheeler.
Wheeler's plea wraps up a week of increased efforts to push a gun control bill through Congress. Other Sandy Hook families, such as Neil Heslin whose son was killed in the shooting, also released videos this week calling for action.
Some family members were brought back to Washington D.C. by President Obama following his visit to Hartford, Conn. Monday. Twelve of them have been meeting with senators as they consider a Democratic bill aiming to expand background checks, strengthen laws against illegal gun trafficking, and slightly increase school security aid.
The legislation made it past one hurdle on Thursday. The Senate will vote on amendments to the bill next week, but it is unclear how it will fare in the House of Representatives.
President Obama was absent from his Weekly Address only one other time in 2011 when Vice President Joe Biden filled in.