(laughter) ... to give out at the church where she volunteered. a republican, she took a liking to gabby and wanted to get to know her better. (applause) dorwin and mavy stoddard grew up in tucson together about 70 years ago. they moved apart and started their own respective families, but after both were widowed, they found their way back here to, as one of mavy's daughters put it "be boyfriend and girlfriend again." (laughter) when they weren't out on the road in their motor home, you could find them just up the road helping folks in need at the mountain avenue church of christ. a retired construction worker,
dorwin spent his spare time fixing up the church along with his dog tux. his final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers. (applause) everything-- everything gabe zimmerman did he did with passion. (cheers and applause) but his true passion was helping people. as gabby's outreach director, he made the cares of thousands of her constituents his own. saw to it that seniors got the medicare benefits that they had earned, that veterans got the medals and the care that they deserved. that government was working for ordinary folks.
he died doing what he loved: talking with people and seeing how he could help. gabe is survived by his parents, ross and emily, his brother ben and his fiance kelly who he planned to marry next year. (applause) and then there is nine-year-old christina taylor green. christina was an a student, she was a dancer, she was a gymnast, she was a swimmer. she decided that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues and as the only girl on her little league team, no one put it past her. (cheers and applause)
she showed an appreciation for life uncommon for a girl her age. she'd remind her mother "we are so blessed. we have the best life." and she'd pay those blessings back by participating in a charity that helped children who were less fortunate. our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. our hearts are broken. and yet our hearts also have reason for fullness. our hearts are full of hope and thanks for 13 americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman many of them went to see on saturday. i have just come from the university medical center just a
mile from here where our friend gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. and i want to tell you, her husband mark is here and he allows me to share this with you right after we went to visit a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues from congress were in the room gabby owned her eyes for the first time. (cheers and applause) gabby opened her eyes for the first time. (cheers and applause) gabby opened her eyes.
gabby opened her eyes so i can tell you she knows we are here, she knows we love her, and she knows that we are rooting for her through what is undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey. we are there for her. (cheers and applause) our hearts are full of thanks for that good news and our hearts are full of gratitude for those who saved others. we are grateful to daniel hernandez, a volunteer in gabby's office and daniel, i'm sorry, you may deny it, but we've decided you are a hero because you ran to the chaos to minister your boss and tended to her wounds and helped keep her alive. (cheers and applause)
and we are gratel for the doctors and nurses and first responders who work wonders to heal those who'd been hurt. we are grateful to them. (cheers and applause) so some loss causes us to look backward, but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the presence and the future. on the manner which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. (applause) we may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the
people in our lives. perhaps we question whether we're doing right by our children or our community, whether our priorities are in order. we recognize our own mortality and we are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth what matters is not wealth or status or power or fame but rather how well we have loved. (cheers and applause) and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.
and that process, that process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our action that i believe is what a tragedy like this requires. for those who were harmed, those who were killed, they are part of our family. an american family 300 million strong. (cheers and applause) we may not have known them personally but surely we see ourselves in them. in george and dot and dorwin and mavy we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners.
phyllis, she's our mom or our grand mom. gabe our brother or son. (applause) in judge roll we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well but also a man who embodied america's fidelity to the law. and in gabby... in gabby we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating sometimes contentious but always necessary and never ending process to form a more perfect union. (cheers and applause)
and in christina, in christina we see all of our children. so curious, so trusting, so energetic, so full of magic, so deserving of our love, and so deserving of our good example. if this tragedy prompts reflection and debate-- as it should-- let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. (applause) let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and
point-scoring and pettiness that drifts away in the next news cycle. the loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better, to be better in our private lives, to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents and if as has been discussed in recent days, their death helps usher in more civility in our public discourse let us remember it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy-- it did not-- but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of our nation in a way that would make them proud. (cheers and applause)
we should be civil because we want to live up to the example of public servants like john roll and gabby giffords who knew first and foremost that we are all americans and that we can question each other's ideas without questioning each other's love of country and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concerns. that we bequeath the american dream to future generations. (applause)
they believed and i believe that we can be better. 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, that's entirely up to us. (applause) and i believe that for all our imperfections we are full of decency and goodness and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us. (applause) that's what i believe.
in part because that's what a child like christina taylor green believed. (applause) imagine for a moment here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy. just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship. just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she, too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. she had been elected to her student council. she saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. she was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model.
she saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted. i want to live up to her expectations. (cheers and applause) i want our democracy to be as good as christina imagined it. i want america to be as good as she imagined it. all of us, we should do everything we can do to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations! (cheers and applause)
i hope you help those in need read one. i hope you know all the words to the national anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. i hope you jump in rain puddles if there are rain puddless in heaven, christina is jumping in them today. (applause) and here on this earth, here on this earth we place our hands over our hearts and we commit ourselves as americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit. may god bless and keep those we've lost in restful and eternal peace. may he love and watch over the
survivors and may he bless the united states of america. (cheers and applause) >> ifill: now, some historical perspective on the president's speech and tonight's memorial event. we get that from historians ellen fitzpatrick and michael beschloss. director of the oklahoma city national memorial and exam and reverend janet vincent from the episcopal church in washington. did the president do what what he needed to do tonight, michael? >> it was one of the best speeches he's ever given. not only the message but also the way he sort of came to life while giving it. he was sort of soaking in the atmosphere and you have a sense it was a speech written in advance but it gave the sense of someone who was giving it extemporaneously. >> ifill: ellen fitzpatrick, how did that speech compare to the kind of speeches we've seen presidents give in these situations before? >> i thought that this speech
was a particularly personal speech on the president's part in which it was a little different, i think, than other speeches. it was intensely personal, evoking the lives of the victims of this tragedy, describing the heroism of everyday americans and the theme of children. this, after all, is a young father. we've seen him with his own children. that was very powerful theme and an effective one. >> ifill: car kari watkins, you were with president clinton in the oklahoma city tragedy. how did this speech ring for you tonight? >> i think president obama spoke on three things we tried to teach as a memorial effort: remembrance, respect and responsibility. while you want to remember what's happened and honor that, you still want to encourage people to respect each other and to watch what we say and that we
veech a sense of responsibility and that sense of community and heroism came out when he talks about responsibility. >> ifill: when we hear about these speeches we have high hopes for them. we hope they'll make us feel better and that there will be closure. was this speech designed to do any of those things and did it accomplish any of them? >> i think it was very effective and what i most resonated with was his saying that our nature is to want to make sense out of chaos and in this case we can't make sense out of it and i think he helped us on our way to healing in acknowledging this. >> ifill: the other thing he talked about was the pettiness that drifts away with the next news sickle. he made this appeal across i guess party lines for this kind of reflection, this reflective moment. was this also essential tonight? >> it was essential to him. he talks a lot in private about cable t.v. which is short hand for a discourse where people benefit from conflict and saying the other side is horrible and
saying the other saying that you're... this escalates. his whole point has been this whole presidency through his campaign was to try to break this cycle and make this a better country and i think he's using this episode to try to do that. >> ifill: ellen fitzpatrick, i want to read to you manager else he said. he asked us to pause for a moment and make sure we are talking with us in a way that heals not wounds. how did that strike you? >> i thought that was a wonderful comment. it was really a sign of what we expect from our president. that is what a leader does in a time of crisis and division and tragedy is to reduce not heighten tensions and i thought by his example the way he described the humanity of the people involved in this tragic event that he showed by the way he spoke and what he asked americans to do. he led by his own example in a very powerful way. >> ifill: kari watkins, the
other thing that struck me is when he talked about expanding our moral imaginations. that's part of what you also have to do in the aftermath of a tragedy like that, in a tragedy that has to live with the remembrance of it. >> you do. remembrance is the hard part. it will be easier to just move on and forget it and go about with our lives and the word "hope." i mean sometimes that is a four-letter word. tonight in tucson, arizona, there aren't many people who don't understand hope. there's no hope because they're burying their young daughter or their mother or their father. so that's something that develops over time and that you have to grow with as a community and you have to find the very good in the very worst. there's a line in our mission statement at the national memorial that says to remember the horror of the tragedy with the tenderness of the response. i think that's so important when you look at the moral obligations of the community. >> reverend vincent, one of the things that's very interesting about this, we saw a lot of cheering in the stadium, we saw a lot of babies crying.
there's something about the communal sharing of grief in moments like this. it's not always the way we imagine it to be. sometimes it felt raucous. how did that... >> it felt raucous to me as well and i think it was people reacting in the way that they felt ready to react. some with laughter. i'm sure some were crying. we didn't see the shots very much but every range of emotion in that crowd this evening. >> ifill: michael beschloss, how important was it that the president seize this particular moment and did he do it? >> you know, franklin roosevelt said the presidency is above all a place of moral leadership. that's what he did tonight. he said "all right, let's look at the way this country is now but let's look how it can be better and the kind of country that really calls the people who behave so wonderfully at the time of this episode to be there. >> ifill: ellen fitzpatrick, you get a final say on that as well. did he seize the moment he needed to seize? >> i do. i think this terrible, terrible event in fact gave barack obama
the opportunities to do something he does very well which is to show through his own example his equilibrium, his calmness, the way forward for americans and to give them something important to think about and to do to examine their own lives and how they might treat their until low man and woman and their children with greater decency and love. >> ifill: ellen fitzpatrick, michae beschloss, janet vincent and kari watkins in oklahoma city, thank you all so very much. and thank you for joining us on our special newshour coverage. we'll be back with you at our regular time tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org u forget it. yourself, so don't fall.