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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Speeches reflect on lives of the fallen

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Kevin Brost
Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat Pat Maisch speaks on behalf of the survivors and citizen heroes in front of a standing ovation at Reflections, a ceremony honoring the lives of the Jan. 8 shooting victims, held at Centennial Hall on Sunday. Pat was at the scene of the shooting and grabbed the clip as the shooter was about to reload, saving lives and further injuries to citizens.

A program was held in Centennial Hall on the afternoon of Jan. 8 to recognize the victims of the shooting one year later.

The event, entitled “Reflections: Honoring the Lives of the January 8 Shooting Victims,” lasted more than two hours and featured nine speakers who gave speeches on behalf of several of the victims.

Speakers included U.S. Senator from Colorado Mark Udall for Congresswoman Giffords, Pat Maisch for the survivors and citizen heroes and Ron Barber for Dorwan Stoddard. Dr. Richard Carmona, Tucson native and 17th surgeon general of the United States, served as the program’s Master of Ceremonies.

Udall, also from Tucson, was the first speaker to take the stage, and spoke much of Giffords’ time in politics, citing her advocacy to work “across the aisle” and curb partisanship. Additionally, Udall expressed interest in reforming filibuster rules and laws on campaign funding. In closing, Udall urged citizens to strive to make Tucson a more unified community.

“We owe it to ourselves, to our children and especially to our friends who were senselessly mowed down just a year ago who were just being citizens; we owe it to all them to rise to the occasion,” Udall said. “And let’s do it in a way that would make Gabby Giffords proud.”

After being greeted with a standing ovation, Pat Maisch, a citizen who grabbed the loaded magazine from Jared Lee Loughner’s hand, spoke on behalf of the first responders, nearly all of whom were civilians.

“How fortunate we are that all these brave, selfless ordinary citizens of Tucson were there that day,” Maisch said. “Their actions are to be celebrated.”

After giving further praise to the University of Arizona Medical Center, Maisch also reminded the audience of the charity organizations that had resulted from the shooting, including The Fund for Civility, Respect and Understanding and the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation. Maisch ended her presentation by asking that Tucsonans continue to give back to the community.

“Together, we are a priceless resource,” she added.

Rev. Andrew Ross spoke on behalf of Phyllis Schneck, who was killed during the shooting. Ross explained his recollection of hearing about Schneck’s death and delivering the news to his congregation.

He went on to tell the audience about an apron that Schneck had given to Ross and what the garment symbolized.

“Phyllis made beautiful things with the fabric that was given to her,” Ross added toward the end of his speech.

Dorothy Morris, another fatal victim of the shooting, was remembered by her grandson, Brandon Nelson. Nelson gave a brief biography of Morris, telling of her marriage to her husband and the their mobility as a military family.

Giffords’ District Director Ron Barber survived the shooting after being shot in the leg and face. Barber spoke on behalf of Dorwan Stoddard, who died using his own body to shield his wife, Mavanell Stoddard, from the gunshots. Barber explained that while he didn’t know Stoddard personally, he had learned much about him from speaking with Mavanell. Barber spoke extensively about the Stoddards’ marriage and love for one another.

Concluding his speech with a poem he had written earlier that morning, Barber explained to Tucsonans that learning from the life of Stoddard and the other victims is the best way to pay tribute.

Judge Raner Collins spoke for Chief Judge John Roll. Collins, a friend of Roll’s for 35 years, mentioned the chief judge’s extensive legal career after graduating from the UA. Collins spoke of the dedication to his work that Roll demonstrated throughout his career, and said that he cared about everyone, which was why Roll attended the gathering to meet Giffords.

“He cared about everyone he came into contact with,” Collins said. “Janitors, probation officers, detectives, lawyers – it didn’t matter.”

Giffords’ Director of Community Outreach Gabriel Zimmerman was also killed during the shooting, and was remembered by Dr. Lattie Coor, Arizona State University’s President¬–Emeritus. Coor addressed the Gabe Zimmerman Public Service Award, given to those “who assume that public service is a noble profession.” Furthermore, Coor explained what type of public servant Zimmerman was.

“His life was about giving service to others,” Coor said. “He was a public servant and social worker, and proud of both. He believed in bringing people together to find common ground.”

The program concluded with a joint speech from Serenity Hammrich and Jamie Stone, two best friends of Christina–Taylor Green, who was nine years old when she died in the shooting. Another standing ovation was given to the two, who told individual stories of meeting Green, as well as the times spent with her. Both agreed that Green had become more of a sister than a mere friend.

Though the event focused on the six victims killed during the shooting, the overall theme was keeping Tucson’s future bright.

“As we look to end today’s event, we should look to the future,” Carmona said. “The door is open for us to continue to grow and to show the nation, as we did a year ago, that we can be better … that it’s within our power to be a better, stronger community.”

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