Three days after 26 people, including 20 children, were massacred at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, the first two funerals have taken place as the USA tries to come to terms with one of the worst mass school shootings in the country's history.
Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both six years old, were shot by 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza in an assault so horrific that some are wondering whether or not the school will ever reopen.
Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto's funerals took place on Monday
Outside the funeral home of six-year-old Noah Pozner a sign read "our hearts are with you Noah." Well-wishers had also placed teddy bears, a bouquet of white flowers and a single red rose at the foot of a maple tree.
Noah's twin sister, Arielle, who went to the same school, survived the shooting as she was in a different classroom.
The siblings' uncle, Alexis Haller, said the two always "loved to do things together," adding: "He would have become a great man, I think. He would have grown up to be a great dad." According to AP, he said she was his "best friend".
After the burial service, Rabbi Edgar Gluck told Reuters that Noah's mother, Veronique Pozner had told mourners: "Every time I told Noah, 'I love you,' he always answered, 'Not as much as I love you'", Reuters reported.
President Barack Obama has vowed to seek change in the wake of the deaths, saying "are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard"
Later on Monday, a White House spokesman told a press conference that the president's plan to curb violence included gun control " but is far from all of it."
People arrive for the funeral services of six-year-old Noah Pozner
A mourner at Jack's service, Gwendolyn Glover, said that the boy lay 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 Jack's obituary his family said they would always remember him for the "immeasurable joy" he had brought.
"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."
CBS reported that at both funeral homes people were struggling with the same questions that are preoccupying the nation - what could be done to prevent another 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 told CBS 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."
Jack was a member of the town's youth wrestling association, and dozens of boys, as well as his coach, wore the grey Newtown Wrestling T-shirts for the funeral.
In a sign of how tense communities are in the wake of the killing, schools in a Connecticut town just miles away from the site where 20 children were killed on Friday were briefly put on lockdown on Monday after reports of a "suspicious person" who could be armed.
The suspected killer's family said on Sunday they were "grieving along with all those who have been affected by this enormous tragedy."
“Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones and to all those who were injured,” said father Peter Lanza.
"No words can truly express how heartbroken we are. We are in a state of disbelief and trying to find whatever answers we can. We too are asking why. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement and will continue to do so. Like so many of you, we are saddened, but struggling to make sense of what has transpired.”
Lanza shot his mother, Nancy, four times in the head at their home, then took her car and some of her guns to the school, where he embarked on his murderous rampage before committing suicide.
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