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In mourning

"In mourning" Continued...

Dorwan Stoddard's self-sacrifice was evident even in the final moments of his life, when, according to reports, he shielded Mavy from the bullets with his body.

Perhaps the most haunting image that many Americans will recall in this tragedy is the sweet face of 9-year-old victim Christina Taylor Green. Born on Sept. 11, 2001, Green, who was a newly elected member of the Mesa Verde Elementary School student council, accompanied a neighbor to the Giffords event so she could see government at work.

But politics was only one of Green's passions. Walking in the footsteps of her grandfather, former major league baseball player and manager Dallas Green, she was the only girl on her Little League baseball team. She also sang in the Joyful Noise Choir at St. Odilia Parish in Tucson, where her family attends and where she recently received her first communion.

Her father, John Green, told Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO that his family will rely on their friends, each other, and God to help them through this tragedy, but added that he is struggling to accept the loss. "My wife is better than I am at handling this," he admitted in tears. "She's put it in God's hands and I have, too, to a certain degree. But you know, I'm a little angry at losing my daughter."

Proving that Giffords' community outreach event, so brutally interrupted by violence, was truly one of bipartisanship, two more of Loughner's victims-79-year-old Phyllis Schneck and 76-year-old Dorothy Morris-were described by friends and family members as conservatives.

Schenck's daughter, B.J. Offutt, told The Wall Street Journalthat though her mother was a Republican, she admired Giffords. An active member of Tucson's Northminster Presbyterian Church, Schneck, who was married 56 years to her high school sweetheart before he died several years ago of cancer, filled her time making aprons and quilts for her church to sell at fairs to raise money.

Morris' husband, George, who is still at Tucson's University Medical Center recovering from gunshot wounds to the chest and leg, was, according to friends, the political pontificator in the family. Dorothy Morris, who had worked as her husband's secretary and bookkeeper after he retired from being an airline pilot and took up real estate, loved being by her fiery husband's side. "They still acted like newlyweds," their longtime friend Bonnie Royle told The Reno Gazette-Journal. "He always called her his girlfriend or his bride. They were so much in love."

Like Schneck, Morris had known her husband since her teens when they both lived in Reno, Nev., and the couple had been married for more than 55 years. Bonnie Royle's husband, Bill, told the Los Angeles TimesGeorge Morris would often hold forth on his opinions about various issues with dinner guests and neighbors in Reno, but hastened to clarify: "They were people who were easy to get along with. They had their opinions, especially in politics, but it was nothing too radical."

Thirty-year-old Gabe Zimmerman, the community outreach director for Giffords, was just about to embark on married life. Newly engaged, he had worked for the congresswoman since 2006 and loved his job because, his mother, Emily Nottingham, told The Wall Street Journal, it "allowed him to be involved in developing social policy while giving direct assistance to those who needed help, such as veterans and people with mental illness."

In Washington, D.C., President Obama will lead the nation in a moment of silence Monday at 11 a.m. to honor Giffords and the six people killed and the 13 others wounded.

"It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart," the president said Sunday in a statement.

Reflecting the sentiments of the community in the face of such losses, a commenter on a web board set up by Tucson ABC affiliate KGUN had this message for the families of victims: "It is okay to be weak, we will carry you as long as needed."

Megan Basham
Megan Basham

Megan, a regular correspondent for WORLD News Group, is a writer and film critic living in Charlotte, N.C. She is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All.


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