THIS FRIDAY MOST OF MY OFFICE WILL BE ATTENDING THE FUNERAL OF JUDGE JOHN ROLL, who lost his life last Saturday morning supporting Gabrielle Gifford during her Congress on the Corner event. Many of the people in the office were close with him, attended Law School or worked with him in our office. Much of the rest met him during work hours, like I did, and still some never met him at all. But for everyone attending there is some meaning going with his passing. Some people will reflect on their own mortality, the thought that they could too have their life taken away in a random event. Most are there to appreciate a man at the height of his career and honor his body of work.
The Judge is a hero, his service to this state and to the federal government is a long list and in his passing we can appreciate how much he did by the huge whole left where he is missing in our lives.
Listening to President Obama speak last night in McHale Center we heard about other heroes there that day; those that covered their loved ones from stray bullets, those like that helped the victims, those like that brought down the gun man and those that took a bullet and will live to tell the story of their recovery. And while we cry many tears for the people we have lost we have to be truly thankful for those that survived. And in watching their struggle to return to health and happier times we learn what is a hero.
A hero can be defined as “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds, noble qualities and having moral courage.” But that doesn’t tell you what a hero does. Heroes inspire us all to be stronger than we ever thought we could. They show us that sometimes there are things more important than themselves and that risking their lives is a small price to pay for saving others. Heroes move our hearts and they touch our souls with their truth and selfless love. And in their passing they make way for more heroes by inspiring us to be more like them.
Gabrielle Gifford is a hero for standing out on the corner and asking for the people to help her govern our state. She made herself available to the people and made government important to all those who came to see her that day. Now as there is word she has opened her eye and moved her limbs, she is inspiring us all to see her recover. In this she is proving that we as humans are more powerful that those that try to bring us down and we can fight back and be stronger after facing these challenges.
Christina Green was just a 9 year old girl but she already understood the importance of the political process. Anytime a child dies it is an immense loss to her parents and the community that child would grow up to support. She was a special child and in her lose we see how precious are all of our children. She stood for so much potential and her spirit will live on in her memory. I hope that peace finds all of those affected and inspiration comes from this tragedy.
How can I be a hero? Be a part of your community; take action in your local government, schools or religious group. Mentor a young adult or volunteer with children. Or just sit down and be present with your family away from the distractions of the world and show them that you are a good role model. I know I will give my own little girls and extra long hug tonight.
In parting, I say the lesson we take away is to love one another more freely. Don’t hold back until tomorrow as you may not have that time. Listen more readily as the words of strangers can both be a sign of their pain or offer words of encouragement to us all. And above all else don’t let this even go unrecognized. The pain may subside but the memories of those that have past must continue to be honored.
Thank you and God Bless.