Tag Archives: memorial service

Arizona Memorial Service or Pep Rally for Students

I was horrified last night when I watched what the University of Arizona called a “Memorial Service” for six people murdered last weekend.

Expecting a dimly lit, reverent, quiet, respectful service remembering each of those killed and all of those struggling to survive their wounds, I instead saw a gathering of tens of thousands, primarily students, in what looked like the university’s basketball arena where these students were there more to see President Obama than to console the family members of the dead and wounded.

I really could not believe what I was seeing. Since when is a memorial service an opportunity for the crowd to cheer wildly when the President and his wife walked to their seats, or when he gave his speech. Didn’t they know this wasn’t a political rally? Didn’t they know to be respectful of the feelings of so many people who are devastated right now since their family members were murdered just days ago.

I guess my outrage is based upon whether we really have to teach people compassion any more. Do we have to teach members of the event staff that you don’t turn people’s pain into a political event? You don’t make tee-shirts and give them out at a memorial service. You don’t turn a service, which rightfully should have been held in a church or small venue for only those who were immediately involved in this tragedy, into a huge rally with cheering students.

It’s just not appropriate. It’s unkind, unthinkable, disrespectful.

Another event for the students could have be organized for a later time. This ‘service’ should have been only for those whose families were killed or wounded…period.

What bothers me the most is these families will always remember this. They are in shock. They are fragile and everything that happens in the days following a loved one’s death, is not erased. I know this.

How do you think they felt thinking they would be part of a respectful, quiet, perhaps candlelit ceremony and instead went to a political rally? How do you apologize for that.

And while the President’s words were somewhat soothing and he did a good job of taking the time to speak about each of the victims, the cheers when he spoke, to me, felt more a confirmation of the crowd’s approval of his being there, than the descriptions of the lives we lost.

Even, I believe, Mark Kelly, Congresswoman Giffords’ husband looked quite uncomfortable sitting among all these politicians.

From my perspective, the most compassionate time of the entire service was when there was a moment of silence for the victims and the choir sung a beautiful song. That was the tone which should have surrounded the entire service.

It was so obvious whoever planned this event, has never been to a memorial service or candlelight vigil for murder victims, or worse, they weren’t interested in planning it for the benefit of the victims’ families but for another agenda.