Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tucson's Memorial Service

     It has been a long time since I wrote here. I've been busy, though I've intended to get back to the blogging. I wanted to tell everyone about our adventures in soundproofing, about the momma dog and her puppies that we rescued, about the cats that need homes, but this tragedy, the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the people who came to speak to her, comes first.
     I'm sure you don't need to be told what happened last Saturday (the 8th of January) . I'm sure you have heard of the hero that ran toward the gunfire, not away, the gentleman who shielded his wife with his own body so that she may live, the man who struck the gunman with a chair, enabling others to take him down, to take his gun, and to take his gun. Did you know there was also nearly another tragedy to do with guns? A man with a weapon heard the gunfire, and ran to see if he could help. He intended to shoot if necessary. By the time he arrived, the gunman was unarmed, but this man didn't know it. He forced the man who had retrieved the gun to drop it. In the excitement of the moment, if the man hadn't, would he have been another victim? It did not take armed people to take the shooter down, and at the speed he fired, another gunman would have done nothing but add to the chaos, even if he didn't manage to kill some more innocent bystanders.
    But what prompts me to write today is the national response to our memorial service last night. Almost immediately after the service I started hearing and reading reactions to it. Some were favorable, but a distressing number were negative, questioning our grief because we cheered and clapped in appreciation for heroes and for the wonderful people that had been lost. If you don't understand,we weren't cheering the loss of life,  we were cheering our appreciation for the lives they had lived.
     We who live in Tucson are grieving. But last night was not a time for tears, though there were plenty, it was a time for celebrating the memories of lives lost, the lives saved and the heroes. It was not a eulogy, it was a memorial. There was no disrespect in cheering in appreciation for the magnificent people lost that day, and the people who prevented more deaths. Yes, Tucson can be raucous, it is a small town in a big, rough western body, but the people who choose to live here do so because it is an emotional, gregarious place. We wear our hearts on our sleeves. For those who don't think we grieve "properly", come here and see our grief. It is there, for all to see. 
     There were plenty of tears today at Christina Green's funeral today. There will be more for the others lost. The survivors won't be forgotten here when the media turns it's attention to the next big news maker. We take care of our own, and we grieve deeply and openly. But we also know how to celebrate the value of a life. More people should.

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