Newtown Holds The First Funerals [VIDEO]
A grief-stricken Newtown began laying to rest the littlest victims of the school massacre, starting with two 6-year-old boys — one of them a big football fan, the other described as a whip-smart youngster whose twin sister survived the rampage.
Family, friends and townspeople streamed to two funeral homes to say goodbye to Jack Pinto, who loved the Giants and idolized their star wide receiver Victor Cruz, and Noah Pozner, who liked to figure out how things worked mechanically.
In front of the funeral home where relatives mourned Noah, well-wishers placed two teddy bears, a bouquet of white flowers and a single red rose at the base of an old maple tree.
"He was just a really lively, smart kid," said Noah's uncle Alexis Haller, of Woodinville, Wash. "He would have become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad."
A fir tree opposite the funeral home was strung with paper angels carrying the names of everyone who died, including the teachers.
In keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket adorned with a Star of David. His uncle described him as a smart, funny and mischievous child who loved animals and Mario Brothers video games, and liked to tease his sisters by telling them he worked in a taco factory.
"It is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back," Haller said. "We would go to the ends of the earth to do so, but none of us can. What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever."
Noah's twin sister, Arielle, who was assigned to a different classroom, survived the killing frenzy by 20-year-old Adam Lanza that left 20 children and six adults dead last week at Sandy Hook Elementary in an attack so horrifying that authorities could not say whether the school would ever reopen.
"You're secure now. The worst is over"
At Jack's service, hymns rang out from inside the funeral home. A mourner, Gwendolyn Glover, said that Jack was in an open casket and that the service was a message of comfort and protection, particularly for other children.
"The message was: You're secure now. The worst is over," she said.
The funeral program bore a quote from the Book of Revelation: "God shall wipe away all tears. There shall be no more death. Neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain."
At both funeral homes, people wrestled with the same questions as the rest of the country — what steps could and should be taken to prevent anything like the massacre from happening again.
"If people want to go hunting, a single-shot rifle does the job, and that does the job to protect your home, too. If you need more than that, I don't know what to say," Ray DiStephan said outside Noah's funeral.
He added: "I don't want to see my kids go to schools that become maximum-security fortresses. That's not the world I want to live in, and that's not the world I want to raise them in."
With more funerals planned this week, the road ahead for Newtown, which had already started purging itself of Christmas decorations in a joyful season turned mournful, was clouded.
"I feel like we have to get back to normal, but I don't know if there is normal anymore," said Kim Camputo, mother of two children, 5 and 10, who attend a different school. "I'll definitely be dropping them off and picking them up myself for a while."
With Sandy Creek Elementary still designated a crime scene, State police Lt. Paul Vance said that it could be months before police turn the school back over to the district. The people of Newtown, consumed by loss, were not ready to address its future.
"We're just now getting ready to talk to our son about who was killed," said Robert Licata, the father of a student who escaped harm during the shooting. "He's not even there yet."
A message read at the funeral of 6-year-old Noah Pozner by his uncle Alexis Haller, of Woodinville, Wash.:
On Friday, Dec. 14, we tragically lost a most beloved member of our family. Noah was a 6-year-old little boy, and he was so dear to all of our hearts.
Words cannot express the unfathomable loss we feel.
Noah was a wonderful son and a loving brother. He was kind, caring, smart, funny, and sometimes even a little mischievous. He liked to tell his sisters that he worked in a taco factory; when they asked him how he got to work, he would give them a funny look as if to say he knew something that they didn't.
Noah was a little kid. He loved animals, video games and Mario Brothers. He was already a very good reader, and had just bought a Ninjago book at a book fair that he was really excited about reading. He was also very excited about going to a birthday party he had been invited to. It was to take place on Saturday, Dec. 15.
Noah loved his family dearly, especially his mom, his dad, his big sisters Danielle and Sophia, his big brother Michael, and his dear twin Arielle. He called Arielle his best friend, and she was — and always had been.
If Noah had not been taken from us, he would have become a great man. He would been a wonderful husband and a loving father. He would have been a backbone of our family for years to come. His loss, and our loss, are deep indeed.
It is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back. We would go to the ends of the Earth to do so, but none of us can.
What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever. And all of us, including the family, the community, the country and the world, can honor Noah by loving each other and taking care of each other. That's what Noah would have wanted.
Noah, we love you so much, we miss you dearly, and we will never, ever forget you.