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  Home > Communities > Hanover

10/12/06 - Posted from the Daily Record newsroom
BOB KARP / DAILY RECORD
Marines carry the flag draped casket of 23-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Christopher Cosgrove III at St. Vincent Church in Madison Wednesday.

BOB KARP / DAILY RECORD
Cosgrove died serving in Iraq with the Marines on Oct. 1.

Video of funeral procession for slain Marine Christopher Cosgrove III

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Morris gives a final salute to a fallen Marine

Hanover man, 23, a 'hero now and forever'

1 Comment
MADISON -- Christopher B. Cosgrove III of Cedar Knolls spent much of his life in uniform.

He wore the colors of the Whippany Park High School Wildcats while playing football and lacrosse. He wore military fatigues when playing paintball as a teenager. He had hoped to someday wear the uniform of his hometown Hanover Township Police Department. He was wearing a Marine Corps uniform when he was killed Oct. 1 by suicide car bomber in Iraq.

It was fitting then that hundreds in uniforms of all types, representing local, county and state law enforcement agencies, area fire departments and first aid squads attended a funeral Mass on Wednesday morning celebrating Cosgrove's life.

The most striking among them were the "dress blues" of the dozens of Marines were at St. Vincent's Church. Several stood at attention for nearly an hour, waiting for the funeral procession to arrive from the Bradley Braviak Funeral Home in Whippany.

Inside the church, Cosgrove's fiancée, Jessica Gurdemir, read from her last letter to Cosgrove: "You are my hero, for now and forever."

The Mass was to be a celebration, though it had a certain melancholy air. Midmorning on Wednesday was gray. A chill held the air outside the church on Green Village Road. Slight winds brought droplets of cold rain. The church bell rang consistently and between each toll were only the chirps of birds.

The quiet was broken by the thunder of motorcycles. Leather clad men and women parked, dismounted and walked with large American flags and lined up behind the rows of Marines. The riders were there to counter an announced demonstration by a Kansas-based group that has been protesting military funerals. The demonstrators never appeared.

When the funeral procession arrived, six Marines carried Cosgrove's casket draped in the American flag into the church. Cosgrove's family followed behind. Gathered inside were about 200 relatives, friends and others who knew Cosgrove or had heard about him.

Cosgrove, 23, had enlisted the year before he graduated from Monmouth University. He finished boot camp in 2004, then met his fiancée, Jessica Gurdemir from Staten Island, at a restaurant in Madison. She was a studying for a degree in education at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She had hoped he'd be coming home this month. The couple had planned to be married at St. Vincent in August.

Cosgrove came from a family of men who served in the military or in law enforcement. His stepfather, Art Bowie, served in the Air Force. His father, Christopher Cosgrove Jr. of New Providence is a former law enforcement officer. So was his late grandfather, Christopher B. Cosgrove Sr., and an uncle from his mother's side, Tom Turrisi, is a Boonton police officer.

Charles A. Turrisi, Cosgrove's late maternal grandfather, was a pilot during World War II and was shot down over Eastern Europe and held a prisoner of war.

The night before, about 100 Marines and others paid respects to Cosgrove and his family at the Birchwood Manor. During the evening visitation, a line had formed outside the sprawling catering hall.

At the altar of St. Vincent's, seven robed pastors from different churches took part in the Roman Catholic service.

Monsignor Chris DiLella of St. Vincent's led the service with the Rev. Ron Sordillo, who is also assigned to the parish. Also participating were Parochial Vicar Justin Capato and Deacon James Konchalski from Notre Dame of Mount Carmel Church in Cedar Knolls, and priests from Mountainside and Staten Island.

In addition to his fiancée, Cosgrove's stepmother, Eileen, his mother, Charlene Bowie of Cedar Knolls, and two Marine comrades spoke during the service.

"We have to continue to carry on the work that Chris did," Charlene Bowie said, referring to the various charity organizations Cosgrove worked with, including Toys for Tots and Marines Helping Marines, both places the family asked donations be made to instead of flowers.

She asked everyone to continue to support: "The Marines, everyone in the military, the police, the firefighters, the EMTs -- they are the heroes."

Each of the two Marines who spoke were clearly holding back tears and both called him "our brother."

Cosgrove's friends, standing against a wall, wiped their eyes. Some clenched their eyelids and looked to the ceiling. A row of women wiped their tears with tissues when Cosgrove's stepmother, Eileen Cosgrove of New Providence, mentioned his fiancée.

"I envisioned you walking through the airport," said Eileen Cosgrove, who also talked about many of the things she was looking forward to seeing; her stepson watching her children, his brothers, Kevin and Brian playing in their sporting events. And of course, the wedding.

"Those dreams ended last Monday when two Marines came to our door and told us what happened."

If anyone was looking for fortitude at the church, they may have found it in Gurdemir. She was steadfast during her eulogy, never breaking her words. She almost cried when she read the last letter she wrote to Cosgrove but she retained her composure.

"You are my hero, for now and forever," she read.


Navid Iqbal can be reached at (973) 428-6627 or at niqbal@gannett.com.


Friend and Family of Chris Thu Oct 12, 2006 12:47 pm
In Memory of Christopher Cosgrove,
http://www.christophercosgrove.org


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