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200 celebrate short life of Noah Pozner

Updated 11:41 am, Monday, February 18, 2013

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  • Veronique Pozner leaves the funeral for her six year-old son Noah Pozner, killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, at the Abraham L. Green Funeral home in Fairfield on Monday, December 17, 2012. Photo: Brian A. Pounds / Connecticut Post
    Veronique Pozner leaves the funeral for her six year-old son Noah Pozner, killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, at the Abraham L. Green Funeral home in Fairfield on Monday, December 17, 2012. Photo: Brian A. Pounds

 

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FAIRFIELD -- About 200 mourners celebrated the short life of Noah Samuel Pozner, a sweet-faced child who was killed Friday in one of the most horrific crimes in anyone's memory.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was among those who attended the ceremony.

Noah, 6, was described by his uncle Alexis Haller as "smart as a whip," with a rambunctious streak. His twin sister, Arielle, was also in the school Friday morning, but in a different classroom. She survived.

"They were always playing together, they loved to do things together," Haller said. "When his mother, a nurse, would tell him she loved him, he would answer, "Not as much as I love you, Mom."

In his eulogy, Haller said that Noah would had been a great man, had he lived.

"He was already a very good reader and had just bought a Ninjago book at a book fair that he was really excited about reading," Haller said. "He was also very excited about going to a birthday party he had been invited to. It was to take place on Saturday, Dec. 15."

Noah was said to be the youngest of the victims.

Some of the mourners said afterward the fact that there were many there who had no connection to Noah brought at least some measure of comfort to the devastated family.

The boy was also movingly eulogized by his mom, Veronique, those who were at the service said. He's also survived by his father, Lenny, as well as his brothers and sisters Danielle, Michael, Sophia and his twin, Arielle.

Noah's service was among the first of what will become a week of funerals and wakes; 20 children and six school staff members were killed in the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

"It was a very touching and very moving ceremony," said Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, the spiritual leader of Beth Israel of Westport and Norwalk "It was good to see that there were so many people who did not know the family came and participated."

Hecht said that Noah was celebrated as a "pure, innocent child" who brought joy to all who knew him.

"As his older brother said, `He could have been anything had he had the chance to grow,' " he said.

Security was tight at the event, and not just because it was attended by the governor, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Sen.-elect Christopher Murphy, as well as other dignitaries. Police spokesman Lt. James Perez said that as a precaution, the nearby parking lots, grounds and even the flowers sent to the home were carefully checked for anything out of the ordinary.

A detail of about 25 Fairfield officers was assigned to the funeral; they were joined by a half-dozen state troopers.

The street in front of the Abraham L. Green & Sons funeral home on Beach Road was festooned with scores of white balloons. On a huge oak was a hand-lettered sign that read "Our hearts are with you Noah."

Most of the mourners arrived at about noon, and the service was over about 2:15 p.m. during a day with battleship gray skies and the occasional plaintive whistle from the Metro-North trains in the distance.

"I came just to offer some words of comfort," said Rabbi Yakov Barros, vice president of the Rabbinical Council of Sullivan and Ulster Counties in New York. "I told the parents that I came as a father and a member of the world community."

He said that he drove more than three hours to attend the service.

"I think that it's wonderful that the governor came," he said. "But there are no words that can describe the funeral of a child."

After the service, a phalanx of 14 motorcycle police from Fairfield, Westport, Milford, Greenwich and Norwalk escorted the procession to the B'nai Israel Cemetery on Moose Hill Road in Monroe.

Lt. Perez, speaking to reporters, said that the tragedy was "a game changer" that will usher in a new paradigm of hardened schools, businesses and hospitals in the coming weeks and months.

He said that the Fairfield Police Department, for example, will be engaged in discussions with school officials soon over how best to ramp up school security.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

jburgeson@ctpost.com; 203-330-6403; http://twitter.com/johnburgeson