- The Washington Times - Monday, December 17, 2012

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Gene Zingaro held his 11-year-old son’s hand as they walked down the streets of the historic district on Monday, moments after paying respects to one of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

His son was clad in a gray T-shirt emblazoned with “Newtown Wrestling,” the young boy’s tribute to 6-year-old Jack Pinto, a wrestler, football lover and one of the two 6-year-olds to be laid to rest Monday — the first of many funerals to come in the days ahead.

Like the thousands of others who have made the pilgrimage to this town to mourn, Mr. Zingaro struggles to comprehend how the Pintos and other families of the fallen can recover from the horror visited upon them, and remains thankful his son — who attends another nearby elementary school — was spared.

“We didn’t have blood on our door that day. For some reason, it passed us over,” he said, echoing the sentiments of many of the grief-stricken in Newtown, who realize the events at Sandy Hook could’ve taken place at their child’s school, that their son or daughter easily could have met the same fate as the 20 children and seven adults killed by Adam Lanza.

The shooting has forever changed this town and the people who inhabit it. There is a clear line now, marking the day when everything changed.

“Life will be ‘Before’ and ‘After’ Friday,” said Mr. Zingaro, a lawyer.

The Zingaros were just two of the hundreds who braved the cold and the rain to say goodbye to Jack Pinto, lining up around the small funeral home where the little boy’s body lay Monday.

Inside, the funeral program bore a verse from the Book of Revelation: “God shall wipe away all tears. There shall be no more death. Neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.”

Across town, 6-year-old Noah Pozner also was buried. Described by his family as “whip-smart,” a fan of Mario Bros. video games and an animal enthusiast, he is survived by several brothers and sisters, including twin, Arielle. She also attends Sandy Hook but escaped the Friday massacre — an attack so savage that local officials aren’t sure if the school building where it happened will ever be reopened.

“If Noah had not been taken from us, he would have become a great man. He would been a wonderful husband and a loving father,” his uncle Alexis Haller told mourners, according to remarks provided to the media.

“It is unspeakably tragic that none of us can bring Noah back. We would go to the ends of the Earth to do so, but none of us can. What we can do is carry Noah within us, always. We can remember the joy he brought to us. We can hold his memory close to our hearts. We can treasure him forever,” Mr. Haller said.

The stress and anguish of the last three days was felt in communities across the country Monday, as school administrators warily reopened amid increased patrols and security.

“It’s going to be a tough day,” said Richard Cantlupe, an American history teacher at Westglades Middle School in Parkland, Fla., about 50 miles north of Miami. “This was like our 9/11 for schoolteachers.”

Within the first hours of classes starting Monday, there were already reports of schools in several states on lockdown and police officers responding to potentially suspicious incidents.

Schools in nearby Ridgefield, Conn., were locked down after a motorist reported seeing a man with a rifle on his back. Police cleared the area by 11:15 a.m., and the person appears to have been a man carrying a black umbrella that resembled a sword, according to multiple media reports.

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