Funeral services were held Monday for 6-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto in Newtown, Conn. Noah was the youngest victim of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — One boy was buried in his hero's football jersey in a small white coffin. Balloons and a teddy bear welcomed mourners to the funeral of his first-grade schoolmate.
The two funerals on Monday ushered in what will be a week of memorial services and burials for the 20 children and six adults massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy has called for a moment of silence and for churches to ring their bells 26 times to honor the victims exactly one week after the shooting.
The shooting sent waves of anxiety across the country on the first school day since a 20-year-old gunman opened fire in the close-knit community last Friday.
Within hours of the school starting bell on Monday, lockdowns were declared in nearby Connecticut and New York towns. In southern California, Indiana and Tennessee, authorities arrested men on Sunday for making threats against schools.
Newtown's schools remained closed after a weekend of mourning following Adam Lanza's shooting spree that claimed 28 lives, including his mother's and his own.
Miniature caskets marked the first wave of funerals as Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto, both 6 years old, were laid to rest on Monday afternoon. Noah was the youngest victim of the rampage and his twin sister, Arielle, escaped unhurt.
Under chilly, leaden skies, police and bomb-sniffing dogs conducted a precautionary search of the street lined with white balloons outside the Fairfield, Conn., funeral home where Noah's brief life was remembered.
A teddy bear and bouquet of white flowers lay at the base of an oak tree outside the Jewish service that was packed with mourners, including Gov. Malloy, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Senator-elect Chris Murphy.
"Noah was an impish, larger-than-life little boy," his family said in his obituary in the Newtown Bee newspaper.
"Everything he did conveyed action and energy through love. He was the light of our family, a little soul devoid of spite and meanness," wrote his parents, Lenny and Veronique Pozner, and four siblings.
At Jack's funeral in Newtown, about a half dozen children wearing gold medals from a wrestling club took off the awards and gave them to their former teammate's parents. A New York Giants fan, Jack wore a red-and-white jersey with receiver Victor Cruz's number 80 as he lay in an open white casket at the service. During Sunday's game, Cruz wore shoes with "R.I.P. Jack Pinto" written on the side.
"Jack was an incredibly loving and vivacious young boy, appreciated by all who knew him for his lively and giving spirit and steely determination," his parents, Dean and Tricia Pinto, and brother said in his obituary in the Newtown Bee.
Active in sports from football to skiing, he was 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."
Gov. Malloy recalled how and why he decided to tell families of shooting victims that their loved ones were dead.
Malloy told reporters Monday that he sensed a "reluctance" from officials to tell the anxious group waiting for news at the Sandy Hook firehouse "that the person they were waiting for was not going to return." He choked up as he wiped away tears.
The normally businesslike Malloy had to pause several times to regain his composure as he explained how he didn't think it was right for the families to wait a long time for the traditional identification of victims.
He says "I made the decision that — to have that go on any longer — was wrong."
The funerals came a day after President Barack Obama visited Newtown to comfort the families, promising action to stop future tragedies.
"We bear responsibility for every child ... This is our first task, caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right," he said.
Obama's remarks were heralded on Monday morning by relatives of teacher Victoria Soto, 27, who was killed as she tried to protect her first-grade students.
"He really made us feel like she really was a hero and that everyone should know it," her younger brother, Carlos Soto, told "CBS This Morning."
All the dead children were 6 or 7 years old. The school principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school psychologist and four teachers were also gunned down.
With Newtown schools closed, youth sports groups set up an indoor field day to keep children busy on a drizzling Monday. More than 100 children joined in the athletics, board games and arts and crafts.
SCHOOLS READY TO OPEN
While the two boys are laid to rest and the other families prepare their own memorials, schools across the country will attempt to return to business as usual, though there will be signs everywhere of how unusual going to school has become.
Some schools will bring on extra security guards. Others will begin the day with a moment of silence. On Twitter, young people nationwide have urged their classmates to wear green and white, the colors of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
"I'm struggling with if I should bring it up at all. And if I do, what am I going to say about it? I'm just praying about it, because I don't know," said Molli Falgout, a first-grade teacher in Kernersville, N.C.
In Newtown, schools did not reopen Monday. The community will also have to make a decision about what to do with the bullet-ridden Sandy Hook Elementary, whose students will for now attend classes in an empty school in a neighboring town.
"I think we have to go back into that building at some point. That's how you heal. It doesn't have to be immediately but I sure wouldn't want to give up on it," said local resident Tim Northrop.
DETAILS OF THE SHOOTING
A more detailed picture of Lanza's stunning attack has emerged.
After killing his mother, Nancy Lanza, at home, Adam Lanza shot his way into the school. He had attended Sandy Hook as a child, according to former classmates, but authorities said on Monday he had no current connection with the school.
Police said Lanza was armed with hundreds of bullets in high-capacity magazines of about 30 rounds each for the Bushmaster AR 15 rifle and two handguns he carried into the school, and had a fourth weapon, a shotgun, in his car outside. He killed himself in the school.
In Washington, a growing number of U.S. lawmakers — including a leading pro-gun senator — called for a look at curbing assault weapons like the one used in the massacre, a sign that attitudes toward gun control could be shifting.
"Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered. This never happened in America, that I can recall, ever seeing this kind of carnage," said Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who has earned top marks from the gun industry. "This has changed where we go from here."
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Edith Honan, Martinne Geller, David Ingram, Colleen Jenkins, Chris Francescani and Patricia Zengerle; and Susan Heavey in Washington; Writing by Barbara Goldberg)
Associated Press contributed to the story.