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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Editorial: Hope, healing worth celebrating”

There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  But you would never know that from commentary about Wednesday night’s crowd, when President Barack Obama and other speakers gathered with 13,000 mourning Tucsonans in McKale Center, while thousands more watched in Arizona Stadium and on TV.

In the hours that followed the memorial service, called “”Together We Thrive: Tucson and America,”” media outlets and audience members took the opportunity to criticize the UA community for its behavior, citing inappropriate clapping and cheering throughout the service.

This behavior was sometimes poorly timed and disrespectful. The event was not a political rally, and despite its venue, not a pep rally for the Wildcats. With some regret, we recognize that not every audience member in attendance remembered why he or she was in McKale Center that night.

However, it’s hard to see how anyone could begrudge thousands of mourning people a few moments of joy. Sorrow is exhausting. For a few seconds at least, it must have been a relief to everyone to feel something else: gratitude. Even in the face of great loss, we can be grateful for courage and strength.

After days of grief, and in preparation of a string of funerals, it should have been OK to want to cheer for something. More than that, it should always be OK to applaud heroism or to show support for the victims’ families mentioned.

A small fraction of attendees forgot themselves and their surroundings that evening. This is worth reprimanding. But the thoughtlessness of a few overeager students is hardly a fair representation of 13,000 people. It is unfair to both, the crowd in attendance that night or the victims of Saturday’s attack, to suggest they were grieving wrong. There will never be a better way to honor a life than to celebrate it.

During his speech, Obama described the 9-year-old shooting victim, Christina Green. Her eyes were “”undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted,”” he said.

There isn’t a handbook on how to recover from tragedy. The best we can do is step back from anger, and such pointless criticism like, “”There was too much clapping.””  Trust in the kindness of others, and find something to hope for.

“”I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy 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,”” Obama said.

Nothing should be more reassuring to our children than the sound of thousands of people celebrating hope.

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Michelle A. Monroe, Ken Contrata and Heather Price-Wright. They can be reached at

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