Two 6-year-old boys were laid to rest Monday in the first of a long, almost unbearable procession of funerals. A total of 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
Classes resume Tuesday for Newtown schools except those at Sandy Hook. At Newtown High School, students in sweatshirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, waved at or snapped photos of the assembled media horde on their way into the building. Reuniting with friends and getting back to school were welcome tasks, said one sophomore.
“It’s definitely better than just sitting at home watching the news,” said Tate Schwab, 15.
At home, his family, who moved to Newtown just last year, was distraught over the news. His mother cried over his 3-year-old sister, who would have eventually attended Sandy Hook, he said.
At school, he didn’t expect to get much work done Tuesday but rather anticipated most of the day would be spent talking about the shooting.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “It feels to me like it hasn’t happened. It’s really weird.”
Some parents were likely to keep their children at home anyway. Local police and school officials have been discussing how and where to increase security, and state police said they would be on alert for threats and hoaxes.
“I’m not really concerned about my safety, but I don’t really know,” Schwab said.
Suzy DeYoung said her own 15-year-old son is going back to the high school.
“I think he wants to go back,” she said. “If he told me he wants to stay home, I’d let him stay home. I think going back to a routine is a good idea; at least that’s what I hear from professionals.”
On Monday, Newtown held the first two funerals of many the picturesque New England community of 27,000 people will face over the next few days, just as other towns are getting ready for the holidays. At least one funeral is planned for a student — 6-year-old Jessica Rekos — as well as several wakes, including one for teacher Victoria Soto, who has been hailed as a hero for sacrificing herself to save several students.
Two funeral homes filled Monday with mourners for Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6 years old. A rabbi presided at Noah’s service, and in keeping with Jewish tradition, the boy was laid to rest in a simple brown wooden casket with a Star of David on it.
“I will miss your perpetual smile, the twinkle in your dark blue eyes, framed by eyelashes that would be the envy of any lady in this room,” Noah’s mother, Veronique Pozner, said at the service, according to remarks the family provided to The Associated Press. Both services were closed to the news media.