Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Funerals become a sad routine in Newtown

December 20, 2012
0
photo - Firefighters salute as a hearse passes for the funeral procession to the burial of 7-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Daniel Gerard Barden, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Barden was killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Photo by
Firefighters salute as a hearse passes for the funeral procession to the burial of 7-year-old Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Daniel Gerard Barden, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, in Newtown, Conn. Barden was killed when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Photo by  

NEWTOWN, Conn. — 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.

Across town, at Christ the King Lutheran Church, hundreds gathered for the funeral of Charlotte Helen Bacon, many wearing buttons picturing the 6-year-old redhead. Speakers, including her grandfather, told of her love of wild animals, the family's golden retriever and the color pink.

She was "a beautiful little girl who could be a bit stubborn at times, just like all children," said Danbury resident Linda Clark as she left the service.

And in nearby Stratford, family and friends gathered to say goodbye to Victoria Soto, a first-grade teacher hailed as a hero for trying to shield her students, some of whom escaped. Musician Paul Simon, a family friend, performed "The Sound of Silence" at the service.

"She had the perfect job. She loved her job," said Vicky Ruiz, a friend since first grade.

In Woodbury, a line of colleagues, students and friends of slain Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, wrapped around the block to pay their respects to the administrator, who rushed the gunman in an effort to stop him and paid with her life. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan attended the service.

"She loved kids. She'd do anything to help them and protect them," said Joann Opulski, of Roxbury.

The symbol of Christmas took on a new meaning in Newtown, where one memorial featured 26 Christmas trees — one for each victim at the school.

Edward Kish said he bought a Christmas tree two days before the shooting but hasn't had the heart to put it up or decorate it.

"I'll still put it up, probably," he said. "It doesn't seem right, and it doesn't seem like Christmas."

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed, Helen O'Neill, John Christoffersen, Katie Zezima and Pat Eaton-Robb in Newtown; Michael Melia in Hartford; and Larry Margasak in Washington and AP Business Writer Joshua Freed in Minneapolis.

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.