President Barack Obama delivered an incredibly healing message for the nation last night.
In something that seemed more pep rally than memorial service, grieving parents, friends and siblings were forced to watch as dignitary after dignitary delivered their own message on what happened last Saturday in Tucson. It was sort of a “Field of Dreams” for political speakers. If you have it, they will speak.
There were two messages that resonated with me. One was from Daniel Hernandez, the intern who attended to Representative Gabrielle Giffords. He spoke of not being a hero, that other people deserved that label. He spoke without notes, eloquently and selflessly. It was refreshing to see. I felt so proud of him.
The other was from President Obama.
Coming to the dais after speech after speech, catcalls and shrieks coming from the rafters, the tone of the pep rally turned into the appropriate event.
With echoes of Ronald Reagan speaking after the Challenger crash, Obama set out to heal all those hurting. He spoke in terms of first names and nicknames, personalizing all of them, referring to them as our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers.
He spoke of the dead and their fullness of their lives, their hopes and dreams, and their commitment to each other.
He spoke of the everyday heroes who acted selflessly during the chaos of the moment, those who stepped up when others were going down, those who ran in when others were running away.
He spoke of healing and hearing each other, empathy for others thoughts and ideas.
Finally, he spoke of us living up to the dreams and expectations of nine year-old Christina Greene. With cameras focused on Christina’s parents, some good could come out of these tragic events.
The meaning of Christina’s life and death became magnified to something real, something significant, showing how a nine year-old held answers to problems that most adults couldn’t seem to fathom.
With the news of Gabrielle Giffords opening her eyes just moments before, Obama sought to have us not only open our eyes, but our hearts and minds and souls to the things that bring us together, instead of what tears us apart.
I was in tears.
Thank you Mr. President. Well done.