English subtitles for clip: File:Barack Obama 2011 Tucson memorial speech.ogv

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The President:
To the families of
those we've lost;

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to all who called them friends;
to the students of this

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university, the public servants
who are gathered here,

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the people of Tucson and the
people of Arizona: I have come

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here tonight as an American
who, like all Americans,

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kneels to pray with you today
and will stand by you tomorrow.

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(applause)

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There is nothing I can say that
will fill the sudden hole torn

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in your hearts.

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But know this: The hopes of
a nation are here tonight.

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We mourn with you
for the fallen.

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We join you in your grief.

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And we add our faith to yours
that Representative Gabrielle

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Giffords and the other living victims
of this tragedy will pull through.

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(applause)

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Scripture tells us: There is a
river whose streams make glad

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the city of God, the holy place
where the Most High dwells.

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God is within her,
she will not fall;

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God will help her
at break of day.

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On Saturday morning, Gabby,
her staff and many of her

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constituents gathered outside a
supermarket to exercise their

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right to peaceful
assembly and free speech.

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(applause)

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They were fulfilling a central
tenet of the democracy

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envisioned by our founders --
representatives of the people

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answering questions to their
constituents, so as to carry

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their concerns back to
our nation's capital.

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Gabby called it "Congress
on Your Corner" --

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just an updated version of
government of and by and for the people.

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(applause)

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And that quintessentially
American scene,

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that was the scene that was
shattered by a gunman's bullets.

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And the six people who lost
their lives on Saturday --

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they, too, represented
what is best in us,

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what is best in America.

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(applause)

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Judge John Roll served our legal
system for nearly 40 years.

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(applause)

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A graduate of this university
and a graduate of this law school --

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(applause)

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-- Judge Roll was recommended
for the federal bench by John

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McCain 20 years ago --

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(applause)

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-- appointed by President George
H.W. Bush and rose to become

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Arizona's chief federal judge.

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(applause)

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His colleagues described him as
the hardest-working judge within

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the Ninth Circuit.

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He was on his way back
from attending Mass,

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as he did every day, when he
decided to stop by and say hi to

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his representative.

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John is survived by his
loving wife, Maureen,

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his three sons and his five
beautiful grandchildren.

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(applause)

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George and Dorothy Morris
-- "Dot" to her friends --

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were high school sweethearts who
got married and had two daughters.

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They did everything together --
traveling the open road in their

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RV, enjoying what their friends
called a 50-year honeymoon.

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Saturday morning, they went by
the Safeway to hear what their

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congresswoman had to say.

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When gunfire rang out,
George, a former Marine,

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instinctively tried
to shield his wife.

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(applause)

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Both were shot.

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Dot passed away.

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A New Jersey native, Phyllis
Schneck retired to Tucson to

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beat the snow.

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But in the summer,
she would return East,

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where her world revolved
around her three children,

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her seven grandchildren and
2-year-old great-granddaughter.

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A gifted quilter, she'd often
work under a favorite tree,

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or sometimes she'd sew aprons
with the logos of the Jets and

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the Giants --

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(laughter)

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-- to give out at the
church where she volunteered.

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A Republican, she took
a liking to Gabby,

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and wanted to get
to know her better.

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(applause)

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Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard
grew up in Tucson together --

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about 70 years ago.

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They moved apart and started
their own respective families.

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But after both were widowed they
found their way back here, to,

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as one of Mavy's
daughters put it,

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"be boyfriend and
girlfriend again."

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(laughter)

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When they weren't out on the
road in their motor home,

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you could find them
just up the road,

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helping folks in need at the
Mountain Avenue Church of Christ.

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A retired construction worker,
Dorwan spent his spare time

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fixing up the church
along with his dog, Tux.

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His final act of selflessness
was to dive on top of his wife,

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sacrificing his life for hers.

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(applause)

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Everything -- everything
-- Gabe Zimmerman did,

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he did with passion.

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(applause)

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But his true passion
was helping people.

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As Gabby's outreach director, he
made the cares of thousands of

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her constituents his own, seeing
to it that seniors got the

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Medicare benefits
that they had earned,

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that veterans got the medals and
the care that they deserved,

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that government was
working for ordinary folks.

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He died doing what he loved --
talking with people and seeing

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how he could help.

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And Gabe is survived by his
parents, Ross and Emily,

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his brother, Ben, and
his fiancée, Kelly,

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who he planned to
marry next year.

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(applause)

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And then there is nine-year-old
Christina Taylor Green.

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Christina was an A student; she
was a dancer; she was a gymnast;

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she was a swimmer.

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She decided that she wanted to
be the first woman to play in

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the Major Leagues, and as the
only girl on her Little League

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team, no one put it past her.

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(applause)

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She showed an appreciation for
life uncommon for a girl her age.

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She'd remind her mother,
"We are so blessed.

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We have the best life."

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And she'd pay those blessings
back by participating in a

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charity that helped children
who were less fortunate.

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Our hearts are broken
by their sudden passing.

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Our hearts are
broken -- and yet,

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our hearts also have
reason for fullness.

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Our hearts are full of hope and
thanks for the 13 Americans who

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survived the shooting, including
the congresswoman many of them

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went to see on Saturday.

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I have just come from the
University Medical Center,

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just a mile from here, where our
friend Gabby courageously fights

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to recover even as we speak.

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And I want to tell you -- her
husband Mark is here and he

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allows me to share this with you
-- right after we went to visit,

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a few minutes after we left her
room and some of her colleagues

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in Congress were in the room, Gabby
opened her eyes for the first
time.

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(applause)

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Gabby opened her eyes
for the first time.

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(applause)

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Gabby opened her eyes.

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(applause)

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Gabby opened her eyes, so I can
tell you she knows we are here.

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She knows we love her.

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And she knows that we are
rooting for her through what is

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undoubtedly going to
be a difficult journey.

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We are there for her.

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(applause)

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Our hearts are full of
thanks for that good news,

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and our hearts are full of
gratitude for those who saved others.

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We are grateful to
Daniel Hernandez --

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(applause)

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-- a volunteer in
Gabby's office.

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(applause)

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And, Daniel, I'm
sorry, you may deny it,

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but we've decided you
are a hero because --

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(applause)

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-- you ran through the chaos
to minister to your boss,

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and tended to her wounds
and helped keep her alive.

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(applause)

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We are grateful to the men who
tackled the gunman as he stopped

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to reload.

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(applause)

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They're right over there.

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(applause)

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We are grateful for
petite Patricia Maisch,

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who wrestled away the
killer's ammunition,

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and undoubtedly
saved some lives.

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(applause)

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And we are grateful for the
doctors and nurses and first

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responders who worked wonders
to heal those who'd been hurt.

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We are grateful to them.

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(applause)

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These men and women remind us
that heroism is found not only

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on the fields of battle.

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They remind us that heroism does
not require special training or

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physical strength.

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Heroism is here, in the hearts
of so many of our fellow

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citizens, all around us, just
waiting to be summoned --

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as it was on Saturday morning.

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Their actions, their
selflessness poses a challenge

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to each of us.

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It raises a question of what,
beyond prayers and expressions

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of concern, is required
of us going forward.

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How can we honor the fallen?

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How can we be true
to their memory?

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You see, when a tragedy
like this strikes,

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it is part of our nature
to demand explanations --

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to try and pose some order on
the chaos and make sense out of

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that which seems senseless.

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Already we've seen a national
conversation commence,

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not only about the motivations
behind these killings,

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but about everything from the
merits of gun safety laws to the

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adequacy of our
mental health system.

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And much of this process, of
debating what might be done to

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prevent such tragedies
in the future,

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is an essential ingredient in
our exercise of self-government.

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But at a time when our discourse
has become so sharply polarized

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-- at a time when we are far too
eager to lay the blame for all

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that ails the world at the feet
of those who happen to think

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differently than we do -- it's
important for us to pause for a

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moment and make sure that we're
talking with each other in a way

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that heals, not in
a way that wounds.

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(applause)

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Scripture tells us that
there is evil in the world,

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and that terrible things happen for
reasons that defy human understanding.

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In the words of Job,
"When I looked for light,

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then came darkness."

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Bad things happen, and we
have to guard against simple

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explanations in the aftermath.

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For the truth is none of us can
know exactly what triggered this

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vicious attack.

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None of us can know with any
certainty what might have

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stopped these shots
from being fired,

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or what thoughts lurked in the inner
recesses of a violent man's mind.

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Yes, we have to examine all
the facts behind this tragedy.

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We cannot and will not be
passive in the face of such violence.

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We should be willing to
challenge old assumptions in

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order to lessen the prospects
of such violence in the future.

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(applause)

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But what we cannot do is use
this tragedy as one more

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occasion to turn on each other.

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(applause)

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That we cannot do.

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(applause)

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That we cannot do.

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As we discuss these issues, let
each of us do so with a good

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dose of humility.

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Rather than pointing
fingers or assigning blame,

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let's use this occasion to
expand our moral imaginations,

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to listen to each
other more carefully,

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to sharpen our instincts for
empathy and remind ourselves of

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all the ways that our hopes
and dreams are bound together.

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(applause)

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After all, that's what most of
us do when we lose somebody in

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our family -- especially
if the loss is unexpected.

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We're shaken out
of our routines.

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We're forced to look inward.

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We reflect on the past: Did we
spend enough time with an aging

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parent, we wonder.

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Did we express our gratitude for
all the sacrifices that they

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made for us?

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Did we tell a spouse just how
desperately we loved them,

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not just once in a while
but every single day?

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So sudden loss causes
us to look backward --

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but it also forces
us to look forward;

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to reflect on the
present and the future,

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on the manner in which we live
our lives and nurture our

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relationships with those
who are still with us.

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00:22:11,099 --> 00:22:22,466
(applause)

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00:22:22,467 --> 00:22:27,533
We may ask ourselves if we've
shown enough kindness and

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generosity and compassion
to the people in our lives.

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Perhaps we question whether
we're doing right by our

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children, or our community,
whether our priorities are in order.

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We recognize our own mortality,
and we are reminded that in the

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fleeting time we
have on this Earth,

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what matters is not wealth, or
status, or power, or fame --

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but rather, how well
we have loved --

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00:23:06,967 --> 00:23:08,800
(applause)

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00:23:08,799 --> 00:23:12,200
-- and what small part we have
played in making the lives of

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other people better.

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00:23:13,567 --> 00:23:30,467
(applause)

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00:23:30,467 --> 00:23:35,233
And that process -- that
process of reflection,

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of making sure we align our
values with our actions --

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that, I believe, is what a
tragedy like this requires.

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For those who were harmed,
those who were killed --

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they are part of our family, an
American family 300 million strong.

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00:23:56,967 --> 00:24:05,734
(applause)

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We may not have known
them personally,

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but surely we see
ourselves in them.

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00:24:13,933 --> 00:24:20,200
In George and Dot,
in Dorwan and Mavy,

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00:24:20,200 --> 00:24:24,000
we sense the abiding love we
have for our own husbands,

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our own wives, our
own life partners.

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Phyllis -- she's our
mom or our grandma;

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Gabe our brother or son.

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00:24:37,733 --> 00:24:42,032
(applause)

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00:24:42,032 --> 00:24:48,265
In Judge Roll, we recognize not
only a man who prized his family

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and doing his job well, but also
a man who embodied America's

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00:24:52,299 --> 00:24:54,032
fidelity to the law.

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00:24:54,032 --> 00:24:55,500
(applause)

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00:24:55,500 --> 00:24:59,700
And in Gabby -- in Gabby,
we see a reflection of our

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public-spiritedness; that desire
to participate in that sometimes

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00:25:06,500 --> 00:25:10,700
frustrating, sometimes
contentious,

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00:25:10,700 --> 00:25:18,133
but always necessary and never-ending
process to form a more perfect union.

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00:25:18,133 --> 00:25:30,533
(applause)

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And in Christina -- in Christina
we see all of our children.

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So curious, so trusting, so
energetic, so full of magic.

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So deserving of our love.

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And so deserving of
our good example.

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00:26:00,299 --> 00:26:04,633
If this tragedy prompts
reflection and debate --

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as it should -- let's make sure
it's worthy of those we have lost.

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00:26:10,967 --> 00:26:24,432
(applause)

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00:26:24,432 --> 00:26:28,200
Let's make sure it's not on the
usual plane of politics and

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00:26:28,200 --> 00:26:36,100
point-scoring and pettiness that
drifts away in the next news
cycle.

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00:26:36,099 --> 00:26:39,000
The loss of these wonderful
people should make every one of

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00:26:39,000 --> 00:26:42,500
us strive to be better.

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00:26:42,500 --> 00:26:45,333
To be better in
our private lives,

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00:26:45,333 --> 00:26:52,500
to be better friends and
neighbors and coworkers and parents.

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00:26:52,500 --> 00:26:57,299
And if, as has been
discussed in recent days,

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their death helps usher in
more civility in our public

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00:27:01,133 --> 00:27:06,000
discourse, let us remember it
is not because a simple lack of

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00:27:06,000 --> 00:27:11,032
civility caused this
tragedy -- it did not --

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00:27:11,032 --> 00:27:15,833
but rather because only a
more civil and honest public

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00:27:15,834 --> 00:27:21,100
discourse can help us face up to
the challenges of our nation in

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00:27:21,099 --> 00:27:23,699
a way that would
make them proud.

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00:27:23,700 --> 00:27:58,500
(applause)

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00:27:58,500 --> 00:28:01,333
We should be civil because we
want to live up to the example

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00:28:01,333 --> 00:28:05,432
of public servants like John
Roll and Gabby Giffords,

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00:28:05,432 --> 00:28:09,299
who knew first and foremost
that we are all Americans,

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00:28:09,299 --> 00:28:11,866
and that we can question
each other's ideas without

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00:28:11,866 --> 00:28:16,599
questioning each other's love
of country and that our task,

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00:28:16,599 --> 00:28:20,733
working together, is to
constantly widen the circle of

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00:28:20,733 --> 00:28:29,332
our concern so that we bequeath the
American Dream to future generations.

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00:28:29,333 --> 00:28:35,467
(applause)

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00:28:35,467 --> 00:28:44,066
They believed -- they believed,
and I believe that we can be better.

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00:28:44,066 --> 00:28:49,733
Those who died here, those
who saved life here --

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00:28:49,733 --> 00:28:53,232
they help me believe.

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00:28:53,232 --> 00:28:58,066
We may not be able to stop
all evil in the world,

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00:28:58,066 --> 00:29:01,533
but I know that how
we treat one another,

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00:29:01,532 --> 00:29:03,666
that's entirely up to us.

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00:29:03,666 --> 00:29:06,733
(applause)

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00:29:06,733 --> 00:29:09,299
And I believe that for
all our imperfections,

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00:29:09,299 --> 00:29:14,000
we are full of
decency and goodness,

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00:29:14,000 --> 00:29:17,567
and that the forces that divide
us are not as strong as those

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00:29:17,567 --> 00:29:18,933
that unite us.

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00:29:18,933 --> 00:29:30,567
(applause)

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00:29:30,567 --> 00:29:36,400
That's what I believe, in part
because that's what a child like

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00:29:36,400 --> 00:29:40,266
Christina Taylor Green believed.

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00:29:40,266 --> 00:29:41,933
(applause)

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00:29:41,933 --> 00:29:49,834
Imagine -- imagine for a moment,
here was a young girl who was

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00:29:49,834 --> 00:29:54,432
just becoming aware
of our democracy;

328
00:29:54,432 --> 00:29:59,599
just beginning to understand
the obligations of citizenship;

329
00:29:59,599 --> 00:30:03,766
just starting to glimpse the
fact that some day she, too,

330
00:30:03,767 --> 00:30:10,700
might play a part in
shaping her nation's future.

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00:30:10,700 --> 00:30:14,299
She had been elected
to her student council.

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00:30:14,299 --> 00:30:19,866
She saw public service as
something exciting and hopeful.

333
00:30:19,866 --> 00:30:22,767
She was off to meet
her congresswoman,

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00:30:22,767 --> 00:30:27,066
someone she was sure was good
and important and might be a

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00:30:27,066 --> 00:30:30,066
role model.

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00:30:30,066 --> 00:30:35,500
She saw all this through
the eyes of a child,

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00:30:35,500 --> 00:30:40,767
undimmed by the cynicism or
vitriol that we adults all too

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00:30:40,767 --> 00:30:46,400
often just take for granted.

339
00:30:46,400 --> 00:30:49,734
I want to live up
to her expectations.

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00:30:49,733 --> 00:30:50,966
(applause)

341
00:30:50,967 --> 00:30:55,600
I want our democracy to be as
good as Christina imagined it.

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00:30:55,599 --> 00:31:00,567
I want America to be as
good as she imagined it.

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00:31:00,567 --> 00:31:01,900
(applause)

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00:31:01,900 --> 00:31:06,400
All of us -- we should do
everything we can to make sure

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00:31:06,400 --> 00:31:10,533
this country lives up to
our children's expectations.

346
00:31:10,532 --> 00:32:01,933
(applause)

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00:32:01,933 --> 00:32:05,633
As has already been mentioned,
Christina was given to us on

348
00:32:05,633 --> 00:32:12,299
September 11th, 2001, one of
50 babies born that day to be

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00:32:12,299 --> 00:32:18,633
pictured in a book
called "Faces of Hope."

350
00:32:18,633 --> 00:32:24,299
On either side of her photo in
that book were simple wishes for

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00:32:24,299 --> 00:32:27,767
a child's life.

352
00:32:27,767 --> 00:32:33,366
"I hope you help those
in need," read one.

353
00:32:33,366 --> 00:32:37,232
"I hope you know all the words
to the National Anthem and sing

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00:32:37,232 --> 00:32:40,099
it with your hand
over your heart."

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00:32:40,099 --> 00:32:44,899
(applause)

356
00:32:44,900 --> 00:32:52,200
"I hope you jump
in rain puddles."

357
00:32:52,200 --> 00:32:55,799
If there are rain
puddles in Heaven,

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00:32:55,799 --> 00:32:58,532
Christina is jumping
in them today.

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00:32:58,532 --> 00:33:02,933
(applause)

360
00:33:02,933 --> 00:33:08,799
And here on this Earth
-- here on this Earth,

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00:33:08,799 --> 00:33:12,866
we place our hands
over our hearts,

362
00:33:12,866 --> 00:33:17,232
and we commit ourselves as
Americans to forging a country

363
00:33:17,232 --> 00:33:22,567
that is forever worthy of
her gentle, happy spirit.

364
00:33:22,567 --> 00:33:25,933
May God bless and keep those
we've lost in restful and

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00:33:25,933 --> 00:33:27,966
eternal peace.

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00:33:27,967 --> 00:33:32,233
May He love and watch
over the survivors.

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00:33:32,232 --> 00:33:35,432
And may He bless the
United States of America.