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Mother remembers her 'little man'

Veronique Pozner, mother of Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings victim Noah, remembers her son's smile and his visions of the future during her eulogy.

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NEWTOWN, Connecticut : It should have been the start of their last week of school before the Christmas holidays, but instead young Noah Pozner and Jack Pinto were buried on a cold and drizzling Monday in Newtown.

Jack loved all sports but his favourite was football and his favourite player was the New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. Cruz called the Pintos on Sunday to offer his condolences and spoke to Jack's brother.

We need to accept the reality that we're not doing enough to protect our citizens. 

Earlier that day he had taken to the field wearing cleats on which he had inscribed, ''Jack Pinto, My Hero'' and ''RIP Jack Pinto''.

Frank Kulick, walks past a display of wooden crosses, and a Jewish Star of David, representing the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Final goodbyes … a Newtown man remembers the victims with a memorial in his garden. Photo: AP

Hundreds crammed into the old wooden building that houses Honan funeral home, which will hold a funeral each day for the next 11 days. As mourners filed in, the world's media waited quietly on the far side of the road, in keeping with the family's request for privacy.

In Fairfield, an hour's drive away, family and friends gathered for the funeral of the youngest victim of the massacre that claimed 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary. Noah Pozner had turned six just a few weeks ago.

Mourners, including the Connecticut Governor, Dan Malloy, gathered in a funeral home on a street that supporters had lined with white balloons tied with white ribbons. ''Our hearts are with you Noah,'' read a green sign pinned to a tree.

''The family appreciated it very much,'' said Rabbi Yakou Barros, a visiting clergyman, reported The Washington Post. ''You can see it in their faces.''

Noah was described by his uncle as gentle and curious, the sort of boy who loved to read and explore how things worked.

His twin sister Arielle - who he called his best friend - had survived Friday's attack, hiding with her classmates in a nearby room during the 10-minute ordeal.

Outside the funeral home, dozens of police officers gathered in the street as police dogs screened the bags and even the bouquets carried by mourners.

''To see such a small casket left me literally speechless,'' said Lieutenant James Perez of the Fairfield police. As the people of Newtown buried their dead, in Washington the battle lines were drawn over what may turn out to be the first serious debate over gun control since the early 1990s.

Support for a ban on military-style rifles was voiced by a life member of the National Rifle Association, the West Virginian pro-gun Democratic senator Joe Manchin.

''It's time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a commonsense discussion and move in a reasonable way,'' Senator Manchin told MSNBC.

''[The Newtown shooting] has changed the dialogue. This has moved beyond dialogue. We need action.''

He said he had grown up in a hunting culture and that he did not see the need for any hunter to carry an assault rifle or a high-volume magazine.

''I believe this is a time for all of us to sit down and move in a responsible manner. And I think [the National Rifle Association] will.

''So I think opening up and seeing the massacre of so many innocent children, it's changed. It's changed America. We've never seen this happen,'' he said. Until now Senator Manchin has held an ''A'' rating from the NRA, which rates all American politicians on their attitude to guns.

Another pro-gun Democrat, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, tweeted that Friday's shooting was a ''game changer''. He had also previously received an ''A'' rating from the NRA.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who has never previously addressed gun control and had a ''B'' rating, said: ''We need to accept the reality that we're not doing enough to protect our citizens. In the coming days and weeks, we'll engage in a meaningful conversation and thoughtful debate about how to change laws and culture that allow this violence to continue to grow.''

His comments echo the words of the President, Barack Obama, who said at a memorial service in Newtown on Sunday that he would use all the power of his office to pursue reform.

Earlier that day, the Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein said she would reintroduce a law to ban military-style weapons from sale.

Monday's Senate session, the first since the attack, began with a pointed prayer offered by the Senate chaplain, Barry Black, a retired Rear Admiral, who said: ''Make our lawmakers willing to act promptly, remembering that time is fleeting.''

Though gun control advocates often push for legislative reform after America's mass killings, there is a sense that on this occasion their calls will be harder for sympathetic but fearful politicians to ignore.

A CBS News poll conducted in the two days after the killings in Newtown and published on Monday found that support for increased gun control was at its highest level in a decade - 57 per cent.

As is its standard practice in the wake of mass shootings, the NRA has remained silent.

with Associated Press