Newtown, Connecticut tries to return to familiar routines as school resumes for most in a town shattered by the murder of 27 people inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School and two more young victims are laid to rest.



Funeral procession for James Mattiolo arrives at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church (WABC TV)

A 6-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl were laid to rest Tuesday, the latest in a long, almost unbearable procession of funerals.


Buses ferrying students to schools were festooned with large green-and-white ribbons on the front grills, the colors of Sandy Hook, as classes resumed for all Newtown schools except the stricken elementary school.


At Newtown High School, students in sweat shirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, betrayed mixed emotions. Some waved at or snapped photos of the assembled media horde, and others appeared visibly shaken.


"There's going to be no joy in school," said 17-year-old senior P.J. Hickey. "It really doesn't feel like Christmas anymore."


At St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, back-to-back funerals were held for first-graders James Mattioli and Jessica Rekos, the first of eight to be held in the coming days at the church.


Candles are lit among mementos at a memorial for victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As mourners gathered outside, a motorcade led by police motorcycles arrived for the funeral of little James, who especially loved recess and math, and whose family described as a "numbers guy" who couldn't wait until he was old enough to order a foot-long Subway sandwich.


The service had not yet concluded when mourners began arriving for the funeral of Jessica, who loved horses and was counting the years until she turned 10, when her family had promised her a horse of her own. For Christmas, she had asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and hat.


"We are devastated, and our hearts are with the other families who are grieving as we are," her parents, Rich and Krista Rekos, said in a statement.

With the exception of the school that was the shooting site, students in the Newtown district are returning to classes on Tuesday.


Children return to school in Newtown, CT (John Moore/Getty Images)

At Newtown High School, students in sweatshirts and jackets, many wearing headphones, waved at or snapped photos of the assembled media horde on their way into the building. Reuniting with friends and getting back to school were welcome tasks, said one sophomore.

"It's definitely better than just sitting at home watching the news," said Tate Schwab, 15.

At home, his family, who moved to Newtown just last year, was distraught over the news. His mother cried over his 3-year-old sister, who would have eventually attended Sandy Hook, he said.

Dan Capodicci, whose 10-year-old daughter attends the school at St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, said he thinks it's time for her to get back to classes.

"It's the right thing to do. You have to send your kids back. But at the same time I'm worried," he said. "We need to get back to normal."

Gina Wolfman said her daughters are going back to their seventh- and ninth-grade classrooms tomorrow. She thinks they are ready to be back with their friends.

"I think they want to be back with everyone and share," she said.

The district is readying a former middle school for students who attended Sandy Hook Elementary and survived the shooting there.

Local police and school officials have been discussing how and where to increase security, and state police said they would be on alert for threats and hoaxes.

Six-year-old Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto were laid to rest Monday. More funerals are planned Tuesday and this week.

Contestants, hosts and judges sing Hallalejah in honor of the Newtown, CT shooting victims. (NBC TV)

NBC's The Voice paid tribute to the victims of gunman Adam Lanza with a performance of Hallellujah by host Carson Daly, hostess Christina Milan,  judges Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera plus several singers voted off Season 3. The group  held cards with the names of the fallen according to USA Today.


Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson wrote the names of all the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut on the sneakers he wore for the Titans game against the Jets. (Twitter)

The Jets remembered the fallen in Newtown by wearing a "SHES" decal on their helmets in Nashville for a game against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. Both teams observed a moment of silence before the game. Titans running back Chris Johnson wrote the names of all 26 victims on his sneakers worn during the game.

NRA Goes Silent

As grief turns to discussion about guns, the National Rifle Association, the nation's largest gun-rights group, has gone eerily silent.

Its Facebook page has disappeared. It has not sent a message on Twitter since the extent of the carnage became clear. And no leaders of the 4.3 million-member organization appeared on the talk shows this past Sunday, two days after the shooting.

During past crises, the politically powerful group has defended gun owners' constitutional right to bear arms.

One Republican strategist says the NRA's approach is probably wise given the emotions involved. The organization has gone quiet after past tragedies.