Regarding the Memorial Service in Arizona:
The Good – I thought the text of Obama’s presentation was eloquent and uplifting. In my view, the highlight of the evening came when he announced (off script) that “Gabby opened her eyes for the first time.” That one left my eyes a bit blurry. And the closing comments about little Christina was a beautifully-written tribute, but the power of that moment to move all Americans to tears was diminished because of the President having to yell over the wild, screaming cheers of the crowd. I was surprised that he brought the controversial issue of political rhetoric into this event. But his comments were not divisive, and seemed to rebuke the Left’s blame-game tactics moreso that taking shots at the Right – so I’ll leave this one in the “good” column.
The Bad – As Obama’s delivery progressed, he allowed himself to get caught up in the festive, hi-energy pep rally atmosphere of the crowd and started to look more like candidate Obama out on the campaign stump revving up the audience than a President comforting the grief-striken families of the victims. I thought the “blessing” given during the opening was a bit…..er….uh….well, “strange.” Maybe a traditional prayer by a man of cloth would have been more appropriate.
The Ugly – The band set the tone and atmosphere for everything that followed when they broke into a rousing rendition of pounding drums and blaring trumpets to launch the service. Hell, I was looking for cheerleaders and pom-poms there for awhile. Something like Amazing Grace would have set a better tone and might have kept things on a more somber note. If this event was meant to bring comfort to the families of the fallen, it was a flop. Those family members were sitting there in unimaginable pain and grief – and loud, screaming cheers and applause just doesn’t seem fitting in their moment of anguish.