President Obama traveled to Tucson, Arizona Wednesday to help memorialize those who died in Saturday's shooting rampage, and to honor those who are still struggling with their wounds.
He stayed above the fray of the partisan commentary that has been flinging across television and computer screens over the last several days, but he didn't shy away in joining the call for a more civil discourse.
"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 -- 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 a way that wounds," the president said.
Nearly 30,000 people gathered for the nighttime service. The Obamas had visited Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords earlier in the day, and President Obama was able to announce that Giffords, who is in critical condition, opened her eyes for the first time after he left her intensive care hospital room. First lady Michelle Obama held hands with Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, as the news brought soaring cheers throughout the arena.
Obama cited 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest of the six killed, as a role model for America.
"I want us to live up to her expectations," he said. "I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. All of us -- we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations."
"I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here -- they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us." -- President Obama
"The one thing we have learned from this great tragedy is we have come together. On Saturday we all became Tucsonians. On Saturday, we all became Arizonans. And above all, we all became Americans." -- President Obama
1. What have you heard about the shooting of a congresswoman in Arizona?
2. Why do you think the shooting has stopped the work of Congress?
1. What do you think of the president's speech?
2. What was the most affecting part of this speech?
3. Do you think it will affect the way people behave? Why or why not?
4. What can your class do to help people talk about what happened and think about the way we speak to one another?