Obama appeals for unity at Tucson memorial

President leads U.S. in “national catharsis”

At the memorial for the six victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson, President Barack Obama conveyed the nation’s sympathies and confronted the polarizing divisions that many say have fueled and been fueled by violence. Addressing a capacity crowd at the University of Arizona, Obama eulogized the deceased while appealing for unity and calm. “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do,” said Obama, “it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” He congratulated Daniel Hernandez, Giffords’ intern who tended to her wounds amidst a hail of gunfire, possibly saving her life, as well as the individuals who disarmed Jared Lee Loughner as he was reloading his weapon. The crowd of 14,000 erupted in cheer when Obama reported that after visiting her in hospital, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords “opened her eyes for the first time.”

New York Times