Ever since it was first published in 1779 by the English poet John Newton, the hymn Amazing Grace has been given many powerful and emotional renditions. Few will have been be more remarkable than that delivered by Barack Obama as he concluded his eulogy to the slain pastor Clementa Pinckney.
Speaking at the service in Charleston on Thursday, Mr Obama spoke at length about the “grace” of Mr Pinckney and the others who were shot and killed while they attended bible study ten days ago.
He then lowered himself towards the microphone and began, slowly to sing the words of the hymn, known around the world. As he picked up the pace, the service's organist started to accompany him.
The service was held in the TD Arena, a sports stadium owned by the College of Charleston and the location of a vigil attended by hundreds of residents from the town a week earlier.
Mr Obama said Americans had for too long been blind to the “unique mayhem” caused by gun violence in this country. He said it would be a betrayal of the pastor’s memory if the country did not address issues such as racism and gun violence.Reuse content