From Wednesday’s memorial service for the victims of the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Transcript under the cut.
I’d like to start off by thanking Emily, but I also want to start off with a few words, the first of which is: E Pluribus Unum. Never have those words ever been truer than they are today: Out of many, one. One thing that we have learned from this great tragedy is, we have come together. On Saturday we all became Tucsonans. On Saturday we all became arizonans, and above all, we all became Americans. Despite the horrific actions that were taken on SAturday, where so many were lost, we saw glimmers of hope. These glimmers of hope come from people who are the real heroes. Although I appreciate the sentiment, I must humbly reject the use of the word “hero,” because I am not one. The people who are heroes are people like Pam Simon; Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords; Gabe Zimmerman, who unfortunately, we lost that day; Ron Barber; the first responders; and also people like Dr. Reed who have done an amazing job at making sure that Gabby is okay, and those who are injured are being treated to the best of our abilities.
We have all come together to realize that what defines us is not the differences. It is that we are all together, we are all a family, we are all Americans and we must recognize that the real heroes, like I mentioned, are the people who have dedicated their life to public service, whether it’s direct care, in nursing, or being a physician, or being a great representative like Congresswoman Giffords, or being a staffer. They are the people who we should be honoring, and they are the people that we need to keep in our thoughts and our prayers. So I thank you for this opportunity, but I say, we must reject the title of Hero and reserve it for those who deserve it, and those who deserve it are the first responders and the public servants and the people who have made sure they have dedicated their lives to helping others. And with that, I thank you all.