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This week was supposed to kick off summer vacation for students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, but following a mass shooting last week, many in the community are instead spending their week attending funerals of the 21 victims.
A gathering for 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza was held Monday at Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home, while another visitation for 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez was held at the other funeral home in the small town.
Eleven more funerals are scheduled for later this week, which will include a service for teacher Irma Garcia.
Additional funeral services will be spaced out over the next two and a half weeks as the community bids farewell to the 19 children and two teachers who were killed by a lone gunman on May 24.
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The funeral of one of the victims, Eliahna “Ellie” Garcia, will take place on June 6, the day after she would have celebrated her 10th birthday.
Uvalde’s limited resources made the volume of funeral services difficult to manage, so funeral directors, embalmers, and undertakers from across the state of Texas participated in the process.
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At a Memorial Day event, Texas Governor Greg Abbott described last week’s mass shooting as “a horrific act of evil.”
“As Texans, we need to come together and lift Uvalde up and support them in any way we can,” the governor added. “It’s going to take time to heal from the devastation the families there have suffered and are going through. But rest assured we won’t relent until Uvalde recovers.”
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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Uvalde on Sunday afternoon, where they paid their respects to the victims. The couple visited Robb Elementary School and a memorial for the victims, before meeting privately with the families of the victims.
The The AU Times contributed to this report.