In a Wednesday memorial service for Arizona shooting victims, President Obama urged Americans to unite on behalf of slain 9-year-old victim Christina Green.
Mourning with the Tucson community, Obama implored Americans not to let the tragedy—which left six dead and more than a dozen injured—divide the nation.
“We are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us,” Obama said in a speech at the University of Arizona’s McKale Memorial Center.
“That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed.”
Green is the youngest victim in Saturday’s shooting rampage in a Tucson shopping center parking lot. Media reports said that Green had just been elected to her school’s student council, and wanted to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is in critical yet stable condition after being shot in the head, to learn more about civics.
At the memorial, President Obama remembered Christina Green an ambitious student who should be an inspiration for all Americans.
“Christina was an A student; she was a dancer; she was a gymnast; she was a swimmer,” Obama noted.
“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 to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations.”
While acknowledging that the Tucson shootings were a slice of the much “evil” in the world that cannot be stopped completely, the president lauded the purity of Christina Green’s innocence.
Christina Green had the “eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted,” Obama said.
“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.”