(NEWTOWN, Conn.) — There were more tears shed in Connecticut Wednesday as families and friends remembered the victims of last week’s shooting at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Twenty first-grade boys and girls and six school staff members were slain on Dec. 14 when Adam Lanza, 20, went on a violent rampage, which ended only after he took his own life. Earlier, Lanza shot his mother to death at the home they shared in Newtown.
One of the adults killed last Friday was teacher Victoria Leigh Soto, who has since received worldwide acclaim from her heroism when she shielded students with her own body, although some of the children did not survive the onslaught.
There was a police honor guard for Soto, 26, at the Lordship Community Church in Stratford, Conn., and singer Paul Simon appeared to sing an emotional rendition of his first major hit, “The Sound of Silence.”
As the service in Stratford was being held, parents in Newtown were burying their children.
Among the tots who were laid to rest was 7-year-old Daniel Barden. St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church was packed with mourners for his funeral. Family members on hand included New York City firemen and dozens of their fellow firefighters.
Barden was remembered as “the light of his family’s life” who loved “riding waves at the beach, playing the drums…foosball, reading, and making s’mores around the bonfire.”
Six-year-old Caroline Previdi was another of the innocents whose life was tragically cut short at Sandy Hook. As her parents, relatives and friends grieved for her loss, someone acquainted with Previdi’s family remembered her as a “jokester” who loved the New York Yankees and was described as “just a happy girl.”
Meanwhile, there was a wake Wednesday for Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung. Witnesses say Hochsprung lost her life when she attempted to confront the shooter.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan was also at the wake to pay his respects to Hochsprung, a wife, mother and grandmother. A relative said the 47-year-old educator “was very devoted to her family…and all her students. She touched a lot of people.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Steve Visser, CNN
Jareen Imam, CNN
Amanda McKenzi, CNN