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A 6-Year-Old Gunshot Victim With an Everlasting Smile

04/12/2013 12:14 pm ET | Updated Jun 12, 2013

The words and pictures run like a sad slide show, with each pithy thought, each hastily taken iPhone image illuminating every little milestone in Brandon Holt's very short life.

The Facebook page for Brandon's mom is supposed to be a place show pride. Now it's a memorial, with every mention of whatever Brandon did serving as the 6-year-old's happiest memories.

"Today my baby boy, Brandon, finished kindergarten and is now officially going in the 1st grade," wrote Christine Decker-Holt. "He is getting so big!"

So much more will be said today, at the Carmona-Bolen Funeral Home, when the first services will be held for Brandon, shot and killed by a 4-year-old playmate on Monday.

Many will go there, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. today; or to the 10:30 a.m. funeral services on Saturday at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Toms River.

They may go to a candle light vigil tonight at 9 p.m. following the services at Carmona-Bolen, where a march from the funeral home to Huddy Park is planned to remember Brandon.

They'll hear crying, or cry themselves; they'll struggle to hold back when they see pictures of a kid who seemed to smile for every picture ever taken of him.

Many won't be able to go, but would like to, and not just friends and family. Many will wish they could leave work, and wait in line for what could be hours, - and not just the people in Toms River, or the other Shore towns, who have been reading about this tragedy every day.

There will be many, maybe thousands or more, who live across the country and heard about this, and can't believe that a 4-year-old gained access to a gun, let alone used it.

They will see these pictures, and wish they could turn back time one week, and wish that Brandon could have been someplace else that night. They'll wish that somebody thought first before doing anything that allowed a 4-year-old to get his hands on a loaded weapon.

For those who can't be there today and tomorrow, there will be a place for them to go, and cry. On the Internet, in a public display, is a mother's pride: a Facebook page with publicly displayed memories that stopped suddenly after 2012, and stopped long before Brandon's own image was gone for good.

One look at it, and you'll see friends showing their profile photos, some of whom changed theirs from something of themselves to something of Brandon.

"You are such a gorgeous, talented, and intelligent boy who did not deserve to die so young," one wrote. "Rest In Peace Brandon Joseph Holt, I love you more than you'll ever know."

The pictures and the words go back to 2012 and before. One shows Brandon standing on a chair at Easter time, ready to dive into a basket of goodies at Easter.

"Looks like the Easter Bunny got a little carried away!" says the inscription. "Brandon is in Heaven!"

Then there is Brandon at a baseball game, maybe the Lakewood Blue Claws, giving a little wave with his little hand. Behind him are empty seats on a dark night, but Brandon's smile shines.

"That is a really cute picture," one commenter says.

"Omg it's a little Ron!!" another says.

There's so much more - kids walking in a Little League parade, carrying a banner with a big blue jay. Happy parents toasting each other.

But the ones that rise above them all are those of the little man with the toothy grin, a smile that will shine forever.

"I am so heartbroken," a commenter wrote, "to know I will never get the chance to speak to you again."

This article first appeared on Patch.