First Communion

Christina Taylor Green of Tucson, Arizona, was, according to her uncle, Greg Segalini, “real special and real sweet.” She liked ballet and she liked baseball. She was nine years old.

When just a baby, Christina had been featured in a book called Faces of Hope: Babies Born On 9/11. This was the work of Christina Pisera Naman, whose own child, Trevor, had been born on September 11, 2001.

Wondering why her son had been born on that date, Naman concluded that “babies come when they are supposed to come.” And:

“I began to realize my baby—and all of the ones who joined him being born on that day—had a very special purpose. They were born to provide life, hope and goodness to a world on a day when it needed it most.”

Naman’s book opens with a quote from Carl Sandburg: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” And in her book Naman expresses kind and gentle hopes for the babies pictured therein:

I hope that you find good in all people.

I hope you catch snowflakes on your tongue.

I hope you always have more than you need and share your plenty.

I hope you are someone’s dream come true.

Nissan’s book features 50 babies, one from each of the 50 states, each born on September 11, 2001. Christina Taylor Green, born on that date at 12:50 p.m. local time, represents Maryland.

On Christina’s page in the book, page 42, may be found the following hopes:

I hope you know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner and sing it with your hand over your heart.

I hope you jump in rain puddles.

There is some significance in the fact that Christina appears on page 42. Because Douglas Adams, in his Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, identifies “42” as “The Answer To The Ultimate Question Of Life, The Universe, And Everything.”

Now, I don’t think that the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner” could contain that answer: too parochial, too grisly.

Jumping in rain puddles, though: it’ll do.

The words that must best characterize Christina’s life cannot be those found in “The Star-Spangled Banner.” They are, instead, those words that form the hard core of Oscar and Lucinda, by way of the Book Of Common Prayer:

Man that is born of woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.

Because Christina was interested in politics, you see. She had just been elected to the student council at her school. And a neighbor thought Christina might be interested in meeting her Congressmember, Gabrielle Giffords. Who Saturday was greeting constituents outside a Safeway supermarket, as part of her “Congress on Your Corner” attempts to reach out to the people of her district, who in November narrowly voted to return her to the House of Representatives for a third term.

Though Sarah Palin had brought the full of her Tea Party might against her, targeting Giffords as one of 20 members of the House bullseyed on a map Palin posted to her Facebook page, where they were marked for elimination by way of the crosshairs of a gunsight.

Christina Saturday was eager to go, to meet Congressmember Giffords. For Christina believed in her country, in the possibility of effecting change through it. And so she accompanied her neighbor to Safeway.

Journeying Saturday to Safeway too was a disordered young man who had scrambled in his mind the emanations of Sarah Palin and Ron Paul and Art Bell and the Tea Party and the “constitutionalists,” and who believed that he had been granted thereby a license to kill. And so he set out Saturday for Safeway. To put a bullet through Giffords’ brain.

And when he had done that, he put more bullets into those gathered around Giffords. One of those gathered around Giffords was Christina. And so the assassin shot Christina in the heart. And Christina died.

Cut down, like a flower; she fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.

Christina—her name she shares with Christ, an earlier innocent slain—had recently received First Communion. She will never receive another. Her blood poured forth, her body consumed; still, as ever, still we are not saved.

Go well, mi ballerina.


10 Responses to “First Communion”

  1. 1 Denise Oliver-Velez January 9, 2011 at 3:47 am

    Thank you. Don’t know what other words to leave here that can say much more.

  2. 3 possum January 9, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Thank you for a most beautiful and fitting tribute to a life cut far too short. I am saddened beyond words to find the need for such a posting. The tragedy of this affair will linger long in our nation.

  3. 5 Julia Rain (the daughter) January 9, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I posted this to my Facebook wall, along with this comment:

    “Christina, murdered by a dumb kid who believed the vitriol of pundits. Still think it’s ok for Sarah Palin to post pictures of crosshairs over districts of congressmen she doesn’t like? Christina was murdered in one of these districts. Yes, we have free speech in the US. We’re free to incite hate & inadvertently motivate unhinged minds to commit vile acts. But we should have the decency & good sense NOT to.”

    I know that, after tragedies like this, we’re all supposed to forget about party and come together. But this little girl is dead for a reason. There are people who are at fault. And those people need to be called out.

    • 6 Julia Rain (the daughter) January 9, 2011 at 7:23 am

      And it isn’t because of party or political points that they need to be called out. They need to be called out so that this doesn’t happen again. It’s just too terrible and heartbreakingly unnecessary.

      • 7 bluenred January 9, 2011 at 11:47 am

        Sarah Palin shoots animals on television, and posts maps with gunsights targeting human beings. Christina Taylor Green wanted to heal animals, to become a veterinarian, and is a dead human being.

        Dorwin Stoddard was a 76-year-old man who was shot in the head and killed as he moved to protect his wife, Mavy.

        The couple were said to be high-school sweethearts who married later in life. Witnesses to the killings said one of Mr Stoddard’s final acts was to shield his wife from the gunman’s fire, putting his body on top of hers. While he was fatally wounded, his wife suffered three gunshot wounds to her legs and was in stable condition.

    • 8 bluenred January 9, 2011 at 12:35 pm

      What you posted to your Facebook wall is true. Last night I was already hearing wingers say they would be perfectly comfortable if somebody put the crosshairs of a gunsight over their picture, and distributed it all over the country. They are lying, of course. They wouldn’t feel comfortable at all. But they have to be true to their school.

      It is an easy thing to explode and speak rashly, and, as you say, we are allowed to do that. By the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that Congressmember Giffords read on the floor of the House earlier this week. But just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. We should try to remain conscious of what we say. Maybe it’s hard. But it’s worth it. Because it’s the right thing to do.

  4. 9 Elva January 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    One of your best writings. You have said it as it should be printed in all newspapers. Thank you kind Sir.

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