US Shooting victim Daniel Barden, aged 7 was laid to rest at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown, Connecticut last Wednesday December 19. His ten year old sister Natalie has asked President Obama to legislate guns in the USA so this sort of tragedy never happens again.
Daniel, whose grandfather is a native of Dromahair wanted to be a firefighter when he grew up. Although he never got the chance to grow older after he was shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14 along with 19 other children, he did get a firefighter’s funeral.
More than 100 firefighters from New York City, Simsbury, New London, Lyme and elsewhere, lined the long driveway on both sides, from the curb to the large wooden doors of Saint Rose of Lima Church. They stood at attention in dress uniform as his grief-stricken family passed by in the funeral procession. Some played bagpipes.
Daniel had cousins who are New York City firefighters. Most got text messages telling them Daniel wanted to be a firefighter, too. The church was packed with mourners for the 10am service. Friends, family, neighbours and classmates were all there.
The first-grader who visited relatives in Leitrim when he was just over one year old was imaginative and outgoing, and he loved spending time with his family. He played the drums in a band with his brother James and sister Natalie. Daniel also loved sports, he played on the Newtown Soccer and swimming teams. Daniel loved to read, ride the waves at the ocean, and was “adored and admired by all” who knew him, his family said.
Daniel’s sister Natalie wrote a letter to President Obama saying “ My name is Natalie Barden and I wanted to tell the president that only police officers and the military should get guns. If people want to do it as a sport than they could go to shooting range and the guns would not be able to leave there.”
In a heart-wrenching interview with Presenter Katie Couric last week, Daniel’s father, Mark, said the family’s meeting with Obama “was a little less fruitful than we were hoping. James and our daughter Natalie had a few things that they were hoping to express to him out of concern for the fact that this situation happened at all and how we can maybe hopefully stop this from happening again.”
He added, “Our son had so much love to give to this world, and he was supposed to have a whole lifetime of bringing that light to the world. And everyone, all of us, have suffered a loss because that won’t be realized.”
Local relatives in Dromahair, Sligo and Donegal are in grief over the sudden loss of their seven year old cousin.