On a tour of Sandy-ravaged Staten Island, President Barack Obama met Thursday with Damien and Glenda Moore, whose 2- and 4-year-old boys died after being ripped from their mother's arms by the devastating superstorm.
While the meeting took place behind closed doors, the White House released a picture on its official Flickr photo stream.
In remarks later on Cedar Grove Avenue, Obama described his emotional meeting with the bereaved parents.
"I had the opportunity to give some hugs and communicate thoughts and prayers to the Moore family," he said. "I expressed to them--as a father, as a parent--my heartbreak over what they went through.
"They're still obviously a little shell-shocked, but they came here in part because they wanted to say thank you to all the people who have been supportive of them," the president said.
"They in particular mentioned Lieutenant Kevin Gallagher of the NYPD, who, when they knew that their sons were missing, Lieutenant Gallagher made a point of staying with them and doing everything he could so that ultimately they knew what had happened with their boys and were able to recover their bodies, and has been with them as a source of support ever since.
"That's not in the job description of Lieutenant Gallagher. He did that because that's what so many of our first responders do: They go above and beyond the call of duty to respond to people in need.
"And that spirit and sense of togetherness and looking out for one another, that's what's going to carry us through this tragedy," Obama said. "It's not going to be easy. There's still going to be, believe it or not, some complaints over the next several months. Not everybody is going to be satisfied.
"I have to tell you the insurance companies and some of the other private sector folks who are involved in this, we need you to show some heart and some spirit in helping people rebuild as well," he added.
"But when I hear the story of the Moores and I hear about Lieutenant Gallagher, that's what makes me confident that we're going to be able to rebuild," Obama said.
"I'm very proud of you, New York. You guys are tough. You bounce back, just as America always bounces back," he said. "The same is going to be true this time out."