Mourners gathered in Fairfield and Newtown Monday morning as the first two funerals for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were held.
The funeral for Noah Pozner, 6, was held at the Abraham L. Green & Son Funeral Home on Beach Road in Fairfield. A funeral for his classmate, 6-year-old Jack Pinto, took place in Newtown at the Honan Funeral Home on Main Street.
Noah and Jack were among 26 victims killed by a lone gunman at the Newtown school Friday morning. Eighteen of their classmates were also killed, along with six members of the school's staff, including teachers, aides, a school psychologist and the school's principal.
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.
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.
In Fairfield, the entrance to the funeral home is festooned in white balloons. On a large oak tree across from the funeral home, a green sign reads "Our hearts are with you Noah."
The funeral program bore a quotation 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."
A fir tree opposite the funeral home was strung with paper angels carrying the names of everyone who died, including the teachers.
"From the moment Jack arrived in this world, he commanded all the attention in a room," she said, according to the Times. "Who could ignore that beautiful energy, the sparkle in his eye, or that spirit that clearly said, `I am here and I am something special'? As soon as Jack started to move it was, "Look out, world! Here I come!"
Police motorcycles escorted the funeral procession up to Monroe.
Noah was described by an uncle as "smart as a whip," with a rambunctious streak. His twin sister, Arielle, was also in the school Friday morning, but in a different classroom. She survived.
"They were always playing together, they loved to do things together," his uncle Alexis Haller said. "When his mother, a nurse, would tell him she loved him, he would answer, "Not as much as I love you, Mom."
Jack was an athlete and a sports fan. One of his favorite players was New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. On Sunday, Cruz paid tribute to his 6-year-old fan by writing his name on his gloves and cleats, along with a message calling Jack his "hero," and dedicating the game to him. Cruz spoke to the family after learning about Jack's death.
Jack wrestled for the Newtown Youth Wrestling Association, who participated in a previously scheduled event Sunday in his honor.
"In life and in death, Jack will forever be remembered for the immeasurable joy he brought to all who had the pleasure of knowing him, a joy whose wide reach belied his six short years," his family said in his obituary.