Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl killed in the Tucson shootings last Saturday, was mourned at her funeral yesterday. An Associated Press story detailed many of the event’s elements that moved the thousands in attendance. Here are details from that article:
TUCSON – The casket for Christina Taylor Green seemed too small to hold the grief and despair of the 2,000 mourners who packed into St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church on Thursday to say goodbye to the 9-year-old girl whose life began and ended with two of the nation’s most soul-searching moments.
Reminders of the innocence of the bubbly girl born on Sept. 11, 2001, were everywhere: A group of little girls dressed in frilly dresses and white tights craned to see as their friend’s casket rolled into the church and Christina’s best friend sneaked them a wave from her place in the processional line.
Outside the church, more little girls – and hundreds of other people – wearing white and waving American flags lined both sides of the street for more than a quarter-mile to show their support. Hundreds of motorcycle riders from all over stood guard and more than a dozen residents were dressed as angels.
Before the service, Christina’s family and closest friends gathered under the enormous American flag recovered from Ground Zero and paused for a moment of silence, holding hands and crying. White-gloved state troopers escorted family and dignitaries into the church as a choir sang hymns.
“She would want to say to us today, ‘Enjoy life,'” said Bishop Gerald Kicanas, who presided over the funeral. “She would want to say to us today, ‘God has loved me so much. He has put his hand on me and prepared a place for me.'”
“Here time to be born was Sept. 11, 2001,” he said. “Her time to die was the tragic day, Jan.8, 2011, just nine years old she was. But she has found her dwelling place in God’s mansion. She went home.”
At the church, the focus was on the little girl who was an avid swimmer and dancer, a budding politician and the only girl on her Little League team. Mounds of flowers – pink roses and wreaths – surrounded the closed casket and a large photo of Christina and her older brother, 11-year-old Dallas, stood at the entrance to the church.
Her father, John Green, recalled in an emotional eulogy how his daughter used to pick blueberries, loved snorkeling and played for hours with her cousins and brother behind the house.
“Christina Taylor Green, I can’t tell you how much we all miss you,” her father said. “I think you have affected the whole country.”
With this funeral service for Christina Taylor Green, may her family, friends, and our nation move our mourning and grief toward loving and healing.