Like a punch to the gut, the reaction to the shooting massacre of 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Conn., was wrenching.

Those were our daughters, sons, nephews, cousins. If it could happen there, it could happen here.

And like all great national tragedies, we all took part in the process of healing and support.

In Burbank, about 150 elementary school students, teachers, elected officials and residents gathered at Jefferson Elementary School to honor those who lost their lives that day at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Dozens gathered for a candlelight vigil at Glenoaks Park in Glendale.

A youth soccer group in Glendale and La Crescenta created a banner for the student survivors at Sandy Hook to welcome them with written words of support when they return for class. One of those inscriptions included the words: “You are not alone. Our thoughts are with you.”

They certainly are, but thoughts are clearly not enough.

That hit home in Glendale on Friday when a distraught parent, mimicking a gun and pointing it at passing cars, was prevented from entering a nearby elementary school thanks to the quick thinking of campus officials. Police arrested him a short time later.

This sort of vigilance is how we can best honor the memories of those innocent boys and girls who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary.

After 9/11, “never again” became synonymous with the full-scale cultural and political change that took place in everyone’s view of the world. Full pat-downs, an ever-watchful government, the sacrifice of some civil liberties — not to mention the heavy cost of war in the Middle East and going after terrorist organizations — all of it suddenly became an acceptable consequence of ensuring an attack of that scale never happened again.

Think what you will of the fallout that came as a result, but it hasn’t happened again.

The same must occur with this tragedy. And it starts with all of us.