NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A season that should be a time of joy has been marked by heart-wrenching loss in Newtown, as more victims from the massacre of 20 children and six adults are laid to rest.
At least nine funerals and wakes were held Wednesday for those who died when gunman Adam Lanza, armed with a military-style assault rifle, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday and opened fire. Lanza killed his mother at her home before the attack and committed suicide at the school as police closed in.
On Thursday, five funerals and six wakes were planned, and more tributes were scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
"The first few days, all you heard were helicopters," said Dr. Joseph Young, an optometrist who attended one funeral and would go to several more. "Now at my office all I hear is the rumble of motorcycle escorts and funeral processions going back and forth throughout the day."
At St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church on Wednesday, mourners arrived for Caroline Previdi, an auburn-haired 6-year-old with an impish smile, before the service had even ended for Daniel Barden, a 7-year-old who dreamed of being a firefighter.
"It's sad to see the little coffins," said the Rev. John Inserra, a Catholic priest who worked at St. Rose for years before transferring to a church in Greenwich.
"It's always hard to bury a child," Inserra said of the seemingly unrelenting cycle of sorrow and loss. "God didn't do this. God didn't allow this. We allowed it. He said, 'Send the little children to me.' But he didn't mean it this way."
Hundreds of firefighters formed a long blue line outside the church for Daniel's funeral. Two of his relatives work at the Fire Department of New York, and the gap-toothed redhead had wanted to join their ranks one day.
At Caroline's funeral, mourners wore pink ties and scarves — her favorite color — and remembered her as a New York Yankees fan who liked to kid around. "Silly Caroline" was how she was known to neighbor Karen Dryer.
"She's just a girl that was always smiling, always wanting others to smile," Dryer said.