In Las Vegas, Sonny Melton — a nurse from Tennessee — died shielding his wife from the bullets. Mike Cronk used his pickup truck as an ambulance to transport the wounded. Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, threw himself on top of his kids to shield them.
These are heroics that have emerged out terrible scene created by a lone gunman firing from his hotel room down at a Las Vegas music festival.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was on the verge of tears Monday as she recounted the heroes born out of the heartbreak.
"What these people did for each other says far more about who we are as Americans than the cowardly acts of a killer ever could,” Sanders said, fighting back tears during the daily news briefing.
Sanders talked about Melton and McGarry including stories from witnesses who described local police officers shielding victims with their bodies or cars.
McGarry said his first instinct was to protect his children.
“It was crazy," he said. "I laid on top of the kids. They're 20. I'm 53. I lived a good life."
Jolene Bennett described how she drove a gunshot victim to safety.
"As we are driving, people are running, screaming, wanting in the car," she told MSNBC.
"We opened up the door, three people jumped in the back. And then as we were trying to take off we see a lady who had been shot and I open the front seat and she climbed in my lap. She was bleeding. Just pouring blood out of her arm."
Cronk said that his friend was shot three times and he some other friends immediately started providing first aid. Cronk said they then carried him to a pickup truck and helped transfer the injured to an ambulance.
Sara Huckabee Sanders said those courageous feats, and others, are an "eternal reminder that the American spirit cannot and will not be broken."
That is also the hope of Heather Melton, Sonny Melton’s wife.
She said that as they rushed through the panicked crowd, he grabbed her to shield her and then a bullet struck him in the back.
Although she lost her husband, she said she wanted his act of bravery to be an indelible part of his legacy.
"He saved my life," she told an NBC affiliate in their home state of Tennessee. "I want everyone to know what a kindhearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe."