Posts Tagged Gabrielle Giffords

Some Thoughts on Together We Thrive Memorial in Tucson

Memorial Services are always difficult – because of the emotions involved. Tuesday night, President Obama hit just the right tone with his speech at the Together We Thrive memorial service for the tragic shootings in Tucson, Arizona.

As an Arizonan it was good to see how the Arizonans at the memorial fared. Governor Jan Brewer and former Governor and current Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano did well. They were respectful and pointed out that this one event does not reflect the character or nature of Arizona. University of Arizona President Robert Shelton was a gracious host and MC, and his brief words on his friendship with wounded Rep. Giffords rang sincere and heartfelt.

The Native American blessing by the University of Arizona professor was awkward. As an Arizonan who has attended many events in the state which featured a Native American blessing; that was the first one I ever saw where the person making the blessing spent more than half the time introducing himself. It seemed out of place.

The whooping and cheering of the crowd at mentions of certain groups or the University was jarring as well. This was a memorial not a pep rally. Sometimes I wonder at the upcoming generations’ appreciation of time and place. The whooping and hollering reminded me of the news story a few years back about a lacrosse team that wore flip flops to a White House event: not understanding time and place.

But this young generation was done proud by David Hernandez, the young intern who helped nurse Rep. Giffords’ wounds and quite possibly saved her life. He insisted he was not a hero – and gave credit to others. While obviously moved, he held it together in front of the large and intimidating crowd, just as he did while in the line of fire last Saturday.

He reminded me of the U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta the Congressional Medal of Honor winner who recently was at the New York City New Year’s Eve Ball Drop ceremony. He too was humble in his heroism yet has been an articulate presenter when called upon to speak.

Appropriately President Obama called upon us all to live out the vision of our democracy that nine year old victim of the Tucson shooting Christina Taylor Green held.

As someone who has had the privilege to be backstage at a Presidential Candidate debates I can envision a few decades from now a Presidential debate where David Hernandez faces off against Salvatore Giunta. That would surely be living out that dream of our democracy.

Let us all pray that our nation be that fortunate and blessed.

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