independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Emotional outpouring as storm brothers laid to rest

THERE were emotional scenes as Irish-American toddlers Brandon and Connor Moore, who died during Superstorm Sandy, were laid to rest in a single coffin in New York.

Hundreds of mourners packed the St Rose of Lima Church, where both boys had been baptised.

Their parents Glenda and Damien Moore walked hand-in-hand behind the single white coffin into the church on a suburban street in Brooklyn. Donegal native Damien works with the Department of Sanitation and six of his co-workers carried the coffin.

Outside more than 200 colleagues formed a guard of honour as bagpipes were played.

The boys, aged two and four, were ripped from their mother's arms during the storm.

She was trying to make her way from their home in Staten Island with her only two children to family in Brooklyn when her car stalled.

Surge

As water rose she took the boys from the family SUV and the three of them clung to trees and branches.

Mrs Moore knocked on the doors of several people on the road but no one came to her aid. During the surge the boys were swept away. Mr Moore was in work in the city at the time, preparing for the storm.

Former Bishop of Brooklyn, Fr Guy Sansaricq, led the prayers at the funeral service. "Death is a part of a human life," he said. "When a child dies we know he goes straight to Heaven. Our children don't belong to use, we are just stewards. They belong to God, we don't understand God's plan."

Speaking on behalf of the family, Chaplain of the New York Department of Sanitation, Father Cola Pietro, told the congregation "There are no words. The only thing we can do is offer our support as a family."

Also attending the mass, Irish government representative Consul General Noel Kilkenny told the Irish Independent: "Obviously there have been a lot of victims of this storm. I've been to Staten Island, the Rockaways, Breezy Point; there have been seniors who have died in their homes and many other tragedies.

"But somehow this one has, I think, captured people and not just in Ireland . . . I don't want to lessen the sadness and grief of the other families but this is something truly tragic."

He added: "Just like this community has rallied around Damien and Glenda, the community back home in Donegal have rallied around his parents. These were two Irish children and American too, but these were the two most visible signs and the most heart-wrenching signs of the tragedy."

The brothers were buried in Green Wood Cemetery yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, at a memorial service in St Conal's Church, Kilclooney, near Portnoo, parish priest Fr Philip Daly extended the support of the community to the grieving grandparents, Fay and Paddy Moore, who were present, and to the devastated parents.

"We are here to stand side by side with them in the shadow of this immense cross for them. I know from speaking to Damien and Glenda for a few minutes during the week, they did ask us to pray for the two youngsters and for themselves as well.

"We are with them in spirit very much this morning and hopefully our prayers will help and support them," he said.

Irish Independent

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