TUCSON, Ariz. – She had an easy smile and eyes the color of mahogany. She was dainty one minute and a tomboy the next, trading a prim ballet outfit for a Canyon del Oro Little League uniform. She was the only girl on the Pirates, a second basewoman and an occasional pitcher, and quite confident she’d be the first woman in the major leagues.
She fancied things that, were hard to argue with – singing, animals, climbing mesquite trees, tending to the less fortunate.
In the days since Christina-Taylor Green became the youngest of those killed in Arizona’s mass shooting, much has been made of her life. But the truth is that she was born on one terrible day and died on another, with nine years in between. So how could one third-grader have meant so much?
Christina, born on Sept. 11, 2001, shot and killed last weekend, was laid to rest Thursday. In an address the night before the service, President Barack Obama had challenged Americans to live up to Christina’s vision – to be, as the president put it, “better friends and neighbors and co-workers and parents.”
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“She wanted to make a difference with her life, to make her mark. She has done so in such a powerful way that even she could not have imagined,” Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas said in his homily.
The bishop also noted that even in death, Christina helped others as an organ donor. About a quarter of the mourners were children, many from Christina’s school or baseball league.
“Everybody’s going to be OK,” her father, John Green, told mourners. “She’d want that.” Addressing his daughter directly, he said: “I think you’ve affected the whole country. We’ll never forget you.”
The private service was held at the adobe St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, in northwest Tucson near the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
The church was decorated with pink flowers and large photographs of a grinning Christina. Mourners spoke at an altar topped with a colorful “Ojo de Dios,” or God’s eye, a tradition of southwest Christianity that some believe is a window into the soul of God.