By Jay Gray
Newtown, Conn. (NBC) - The heartache and hard goodbyes continued Tuesday in Newtown, Connecticut.
The tiny community shaken by a savage attack at an elementary school is now trying to work through what comes with funerals for 26 victims, 20 of those first grade students.
Jessica Rekos loved horses and had asked Santa for cowgirl boots and a hat for Christmas. A first born, she liked to plan and organize so much her family called her their CEO.
James Mattioli, nicknamed "J", loved math, sports and games on his iPad. An early riser, he usually ended his days cuddled-up on the couch next to his mom.
There are so many in Newtown holding one another tight now, unable to shake the horror.
For Gene Rosen the panicked words of young survivors echo over and over in his memories from that day.
"They kept saying that, and one of the boys said that he had a big gun and a little gun, I could not fathom what they were talking about," Rosen recalls.
He found the boys huddled in his yard after they ran past the gunman to escape.
"They were very upset and the two boys just started talking. I had no idea what happened, and they said we can't go back to the school, we can't go back to the school because our teacher is gone," Rosen said.
Students in Newtown did go back to school, except those from Sandy Hook Elementary.
Every campus opened with extra security and grief counselors on hand.
Tomorrow Victoria Soto, one of the teachers who died trying to protect her students, will be the first adult from the tragedy laid to rest.