Friday, July 19, 2024

Obama Gives Rousing Speech in Tucson Underscoring Unity

President Obama honored the victims of Saturday’s shootings at a memorial service Wednesday night in Tucson with an emotive speech in which he called on “America to be as good as she imagined it.”

Speaking at the University of Arizona the President elected to give anecdotes of the victims and recognize the heroes that sprung into action following the outburst of gunfire from the lone gunman that targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

An overjoyed audience cheered when the President announced that Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time shortly after his hospital visit.

“I believe we can be better,” Obama said to a packed arena and viewers at home. “Those who died here, those who saved lives here – they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us.”

Daniel Hernandez, Giffords’ intern of just 5 days and whose actions are credited with saving the Congresswoman’s life, sat next to the President and First Lady during the memorial service.  He rejects being called a hero.

“Although I appreciate the sentiment, I must reject the word hero, for I am not one,” Hernandez said to a cheering crowd. He then said the victims of the shooting, including Giffords, are “the real heroes … the people who have dedicated themselves to public service.”

This didn’t stop Obama from praising Hernandez once he took the stage.

“We are grateful to Daniel Hernandez,” he said. “I am sorry, Daniel, you may deny it, but we decided you are a hero because you ran through the chaos to minister to your boss and tend to her wounds and helped keep her alive.”

Throughout his speech the President steered away from political talk and asked the audience and viewers at home to think of how to honor the memories of the victims and not to rush to blame or speculation over the shooters’ motivations.

“The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives — to be better friends and neighbors, coworkers and parents,” Obama said.  “And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let’s remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud.”


Hhuffington Post