Funeral services were scheduled Saturday afternoon in Connecticut for 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, who returned with her family to their home state six months ago after living for three years in Winnipeg.
Ana in her Grade 1 class last Friday morning when Sandy Hook Elementary School erupted in a hail of bullets that killed her along with 19 other children and six adults. Her older brother, Isaiah, was in a Grade 3 classroom down the hall. He made it out of the building. Ana did not.
Parents Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez found themselves seeking post-traumatic stress treatment for their son as they planned their daughter’s funeral.
The Marquez-Greenes had an outsized impact on Winnipeg in the three years they lived there, evident in the numerous institutions now in mourning – her church, her school, her dance studio, two universities and a slew of close friends. Ana lived half of her life in Canada and earned a reputation as a smiling, vibrant, little girl with bushy pigtails.
A service was also planned Saturday in Connecticut for 7-year-old Josephine Gay, and it Utah for 6-year-old Emilie Parker. A spokeswoman for the Connecticut Funeral Directors Association says these were the last victim funerals it knows of, although some of the services are private.
A moment of silence was held Friday in remembrance of those killed at the school. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy gathered with other officials in rain and wind on the steps of the Edmond Town Hall as the bell rang. Similar commemorations took place across the United States.
Traffic stopped in the streets outside the town hall in Newtown early Friday as bells rang out to honour the dead.
Mr. Malloy, taking deep breaths with his hands folded in front of him, was joined by the Newtown superintendent of schools, lawmakers and other officials as bells rang out at the nearby Trinity Episcopal Church.
Firefighters bowed their heads around a memorial filled with teddy bears, other stuffed animals and a New York Giants pillow. Some hugged and onlookers shook their hands afterward.
“When I heard the 26 bells ring it just melted my soul,” said Kerrie Glassman, of Sandy Hook, who said she knew seven of the victims. “It's just overwhelming. You just can't believe this happened in our town.”
Among those who gathered in Newtown was a group of 13 survivors of the 2005 school shooting on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota. The group drove nearly 1,500 miles to support and comfort the families and survivors. They brought gifts intended to bring a message of resilience and hope, including a plaque that survivors of the 1999 Columbine shooting gave to them after their experience.
“This is just something we had to do,” said Ashley Lejeunesse, 23, who was also in the Red Lake classroom.
The chiming of bells reverberated throughout the nation, and there were observances around the world.
In Washington, religious leaders from a broad range of faiths gathered at Washington National Cathedral to call for their congregations to lobby Congress to enact gun control and mental health reforms to address pervasive gun violence. In a garden beside the National Cathedral, they paused to listen as a funeral bell tolled.
In New York City, bells at the historic Trinity Church near the World Trade Center tolled 28 times. In Massachusetts, bells in churches around the state, including Boston's historic Old North Church, rang in honor of those killed in the attack. A moment of silence was observed throughout Colorado, and bells rang out in Denver, while in Wyoming, St. Mary's Cathedral in Cheyenne and other places of worship rang bells 26 times. In Ohio, places of worship from Cincinnati to Cleveland and beyond tolled their bells 26 times, and schools across the state marked the moment with silence.
In Alabama, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, governors invited citizens to take part in a moment of silence.
In the west African nation of Liberia, 20 children from a school sponsored by the Newtown Rotary Club gathered at the U.S. Embassy to give their condolences. Each child from the Caroline Miller School in Monrovia placed a flower on a poster bearing the name of a victim of the shooting.
When the bells tolled to honor the victims of last week's shooting rampage, they did so 26 times, for each child and staff member killed.
There is rarely a mention by residents of the first person police said Adam Lanza killed that morning: his mother, Nancy, who was shot in the head four times while she lay in bed.
A private funeral was held Thursday in New Hampshire for Nancy Lanza, according to the police chief in Kingston, N.H., where her funeral was held. About 25 family members attended.
The Newtown area weathered more funerals Friday, with five planned.
A standing room-only crowd filled the St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church in Trumbull for the funeral of Mary Sherlach. The school psychologist who rushed toward the gunman during the shooting was remembered as a caring professional, a fan of the Miami Dolphins and a woman who ultimately put the lives of others ahead of her own.
Investigators have said that Nancy Lanza, a gun enthusiast, visited shooting ranges several times and that her son also visited an area range.
Authorities say Adam Lanza shot his mother at their home and then took her car and some of her guns to the school, where he broke in and opened fire. A Connecticut official said Nancy Lanza was shot four times in the head with a .22-caliber rifle.
Adam Lanza was wearing all black, with an olive-drab utility vest, during the school attack. Investigators have found no letters or diaries that could explain the rampage.
Friends and acquaintances have described him as intelligent, but odd and quiet.
Friends said he would stare down at the floor and not speak when she brought him into a local pizzeria. They knew that he'd switched schools more than once and that she'd tried home schooling him. But while she occasionally expressed concern about his future during evenings at the bar, she never complained.
With a report from Associated Press
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