One of the 20 children murdered during the Newtown massacre was the grandchild of Irish immigrants from County Leitrim and County Down.
Red-haired and adorable seven-year-old Daniel Barden received a fireman’s funeral with an honor guard of 100 firefighters.
His sister Natalie has won world headlines after she penned a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to clamp down on gun control.
Read More: It’s time for the US Government to take on the National Rifle Association after Newtown tragedy
Anderson Cooper read out her letter on CNN. She wrote, “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 a shooting range and the guns would not be able to leave there.”
Barden was one of 20 children and six adults killed by Adam Lanza. He had visited Ireland when only one year old when his family held a clan reunion in Leitrim. The Barden Family and other Giblin family members on his mother’s side were planning another trip to Ireland in the summer. Martin Giblin, his grandfather, last visited Leitrim in the Autumn of 2009.
The family of Daniel, who was buried on Wednesday, issued a statement after the shooting. It reads, “Everyone who has ever met Daniel remembers and loves him. Words really cannot express what a special boy Daniel was. Such a light. Always smiling, unfailingly polite, incredibly affectionate, fair and so thoughtful towards others, imaginative in play, both intelligent and articulate in conversation: in all, a constant source of laughter and joy.
“Daniel was fearless in his pursuit of happiness and life. He earned his ripped jeans and missing two front teeth. Despite that, he was, as his mother said, “Just So Good.” He embodied everything that is wholesome and innocent in the world. Our hearts break over losing him and for the many other families suffering loss.”
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Barden’s 90-year-old grandfather Martin Giblin, who now lives in Florida, is originally from Dromahair, County Leitrim. Giblin immigrated to and settled in New York in 1947. He raised ten children with his wife Madeline McDonnell (from Newry, County Down), Jacqueline, Barden’s mother, among them, according to the Leitrim Observer.
Described as a “constant source of laughter and joy,” Barden is survived by two siblings James (12) and Natalie (10).
Earlier this week, Barden’s father Mark spoke to Katie Couric. He said that the meeting the people of Newtown had with President Obama “was a little less fruitful than we were hoping.”
James and his 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 they can maybe stop this from happening again.
"My daughter Natalie was interested in asking him if he could pass some kind of legislation so that the only people that had guns were military personnel and law enforcement, and if people needed guns for sport that they could go to a range and the guns would have to stay there."
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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."
On Wednesday Barden received a fireman’s funeral at the Saint Rose of Lima Church with firefighters from New York City and Connecticut's Simsbury, New London, Lyme and elsewhere in attendance to pay their respects to the boy who dreamed of joining in their ranks.
Both parents will be taking time off work to grieve for their son. A fund has been established in their name. To contribute visit the site here.
Here’s the full Katie Couric feature:
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