(Photo: REUTERS/Mike Sega)
Funerals for two of the schoolchildren killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., began on Monday, as mourners prepared to lay to rest the 20 children and six adults killed during the deadly shooting rampage on Dec. 14.
On Friday, 20 year-old Adam Lanza shot dead his mother, Nancy Lanza, at their nearby home, before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary and killing 26 people, including the school's principal, a psychologist and four teachers. Lanza eventually turned the gun on himself.
Six-year-olds Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto will be buried Monday afternoon in Newtown, following an interfaith vigil on Sunday night attended by President Barack Obama.
"We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change," Obama said, according to Reuters.
"We bear responsibility for every child ... This is our first task, caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right," the president added.
Pozner, who turned six last month, was the youngest victim in the massacre, and has been described as mature yet inquisitive for his age. Pinto had a love of sports and was a wrestler. The New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz came out during a Sunday NFL game bearing the boy's name on his cleats and gloves.
CNN added that residents in Newtown are likely to be shaken long after all of the funerals for the slain victims have taken place, as the tragic shootings have rocked the tight-knit community to its very core.
"It's incomprehensible, the pain here," resident Darla Henggeler said. "You can't imagine. We're still in shock. I can't let my heart go there because it's so overwhelming. I think once it settles in, I think my heart will break."
Obama has made several statements since Friday's attack about the need for things to change in order to prevent future incidents like the one in Newtown from happening. In the past few years America has suffered college campus shootings, religious temple shootings, several mall shootings, and now an elementary school shooting.
"In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens - from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators - in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this," Obama continued in his address at Newtown High School's auditorium on Sunday, although he was not specific as to what steps he plans on taking.
The president added that as a society, the U.S. will be judged by how it takes care of its children, a task that he said requires a lot of self-reflection.
"Can we honestly say we are doing enough to keep our children, all of them, from harm?" Obama asked on Sunday.
"If we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no," he continued. "We're not doing enough and we'll have to change."