9/11 Flag at Young AZ Victim’s Funeral: Poignant or Propaganda?
A time of sadness, mourning, and questioning has fallen upon the State of Arizona, and the United States at large.
Since the violent shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 14 other people, and the death of 6 in Tucson Arizona, the country has been searching for the answers to how this could have happend.
Details of the event trickled out, and within hours of the incident the speculation and rhetoric of different political and social factions had snowballed, and the social networking sites and news media outlets were on fire with minutia of the case and who was to take the blame for the massacre.
Strangely enough, the accused shooter Jared Loughner was not high on the list of targets of blame.
It was assumed he was the shooter based on witness accounts, and the fact that he’d been tackled and held at the scene when law enforcement arrived, but the headlines were not attacking him personally with anything more hard hitting than "pot smoking loner" or "mentally unstable", and having a "troubled past".
It was reported that Loughner was fascinated with mind control.
It was debated if he was a liberal, democrat, libertarian, republican, with all sides refusing to allow for his alignment to their party, ideas, or political thoughts.
The mainstream media was even avoiding using the word "terrorism" in this political killing, even though the definition of the word terrorism is "the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature". (Source)
In fact, the most heavy handed accusations were directed at the various cast of political characters.
Sarah Palin got blamed for targeting Democrats and inciting violence.
President Obama got blamed for dividing the country with a polarizing health care bill - a bill which drove Loughner to the edge.
Guns were attacked as the cause, and the gun control wedge issue is now back for hot debate.
With the attacker safely behind bars and somewhat out of the picture, the story took on a new angle, and became a political struggle, the crisis of the division of a country between right and left.
What was a tragedy is now, seemingly, being turned into an opportunity.
Rahm Emanuel "DON’T WASTE A GOOD CRISIS!"
Video from: YouTube.com
As victims are rememberd, heroes applauded, and the dead buried, the tone of the incident is hope for change in some, a reaffirmation of division for others.
The first funeral for the victims of the shooting is probably the hardest to bear. Christina Taylor Green, 9, was gunned down and, along with Representative Giffords, probably will come to represent the event in the minds of the public from now on. The other victims are not forgotten, but Giffords and Green resonate in the public consciousness with true tragedy and ’innocence lost’.
Green’s funeral, poingant and heartbreaking, was also the venue for a lot of stranger symbolism.
Christina was born on September 11, 2001; Infamous 9/11, date of the destruction of the Twin Towers and WTC Building 7, the episode of Flight 93, and the events at the Pentagon.
"The largest flag recovered after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center is being unfurled and raised at the funeral of the youngest victim of the mass shooting in Arizona.
Services are being held Thursday in Tucson for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. She was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and was killed Saturday when a gunman opened fired on a crowd at an event for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The congresswoman was gravely wounded and six people were killed." (Source)
Can we question the inclusion of the specter of 9/11 being raised with the flag at a young girl’s funeral? Is it meant as a gesture of reminder (and if so, how are 9/11 victims and Christina related other than a fluke of date), or is it meant as a political suggestion where all tragedies must be linked back to the ’ultimate’ American tragedy and the resultant wars on ’terror’ are therefore once again justified?
It certainly is linking the events in Arizona with the narrative of 9/11 emotionally to the public and opening old wounds.
Had Christina been born on December 7, would some memorabilia from the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941 been erected at her funeral? Probably not.
What makes the addition of the flag more interesting, is that Jared Loughner is reportedly a ’9/11 Truther’, who suspects the government is hiding the truth about 9/11.
Christina Green’s funeral was to be protested, but the controversial Westboro Baptist Church changed their minds about it after being given voice on talk radio.
A Strange Mix: People that attended her funeral ranged from angels, to bikers, to astronauts.
A woman from the so called "Angel Project" is overcome with emotion as she stands with others as they line the street leading to the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church where the funeral for nine-year-old Christina Green was to take place in Tucson, Arizona, January 13, 2011.
A group of motorcycle riders arrives at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.
Mark Edward Kelly is an American astronaut. Kelly is the commander of STS-134 Endeavour, the final planned mission of the American space shuttle program.
Kelly is married to U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Due to the attempted assassination of his wife his status as commander of STS-134 is in doubt. Kelly said that he is "hopeful" he’ll be able to serve on STS-134 and according to NASA he remains the commander of the mission. Peggy Whitson of NASA commented on January 13, 2011 that Mark "is facing many uncertainties now as he supports Gabrielle, and our goal is to allow him to keep his undistracted attention on his family while allowing preparations for the mission to progress." (source)
Will the multiple tragedies raised around this event be turned to political gain? If we look to the past for lessons, it would scream YES.
Some question pep rally atmosphere at Obama speech
By Gillian Flaccus and Bob Christie | Yahoo.com
What was billed as a memorial for victims of the Arizona shooting rampage turned into a rollicking rally, leaving some conservative commentators wondering whether President Barack Obama’s speech was a scripted political event. Not so, insisted the White House and host University of Arizona.
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday he and other aides didn’t expect the president’s remarks at the school’s basketball arena to receive as much rousing applause as it did. Gibbs said the crowd’s response, at times cheering and shouting, was understandable.
"I think part of the grieving process is celebrating the lives of those that were lost, and celebrating the miracles of those that survived," he said.
The university said it did the planning with minimal input from the White House. The school paid for the event, including $60,000 for 20,000 T-shirts bearing the words "Together We Thrive," which were handed out for free. The money will not come student tuition, fees or tax dollars.
Well before Obama arrived, the atmosphere had become celebratory. People lined up for hours, and when the doors finally opened about two hours before the start, a huge cheer went up and the crowd surged into the arena.
With the exception of elected officials, victims and their families, first responders and medical professionals, the capacity crowd of about 14,000 was admitted on a first-come, first-served basis Wednesday, university spokeswoman Jennifer Fitzenberger said.
But the choreographed nature of the event was too much for some.
"Can’t the Democrat political stage managers give it a break just once?" conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote in a column on her website, then questioned the lack of White House interaction with the university.
"Given the Obama White House’s meticulous attention to stage prop details, however, I would say the odds of involvement by Axelrod/Plouffe & Co. are high."
David Plouffe is a presidential adviser who was the architect of Obama’s presidential campaign; White House senior adviser David Axelrod has been his political strategist and is to advise the Obama’s re-election campaign.
Rich Lowry of the National Review wrote that "the pep-rally atmosphere was inappropriate and disconcerting," although he admired the president’s speech.
To observers, the crowd was spontaneous.
They cheered when the two trauma surgeons who treated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords entered and were shown on the overhead screen. As the camera would focus on other individuals thrust into the spotlight after the shooting, the crowd went wild, whether it was the first responders, the woman who grabbed the alleged gunman’s ammunition or Daniel Hernandez, the intern who helped Giffords at the scene of the shooting.
Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who drew criticism from some corners for his remarks about Arizona immediately after the shooting, drew particularly loud applause and responded with a wave to the cameras.
Despite the celebrations in the rafters, the mood below where the families of the victims, the president and other officials sat was far more somber.
Obama frequently bowed his head, resting his chin on his clasped hands. First lady Michelle Obama wiped tears from her eyes. Families of the victims held each other close as speakers shared personal memories of their loved ones.
The president himself appeared taken aback at the sustained applause he received after his remarks. He waved quickly to the crowd as he left the stage, stood with his head down as the crowd continued to cheer, then reached for his wife, and kissed her several times on the cheek.
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