by Dan Gibson
The following is a message from Maureen Roll, wife of John M. Roll, the chief federal judge in Arizona. Judge Roll was among those killed Jan. 8 when he went to visit his friend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, at her Congress on Your Corner event at North Oracle and West Ina Road:
By MAUREEN ROLL
There are no words to describe how my world was shattered on Saturday morning, Jan. 8, 2011. Not only did I lose John Roll, my husband and best friend of more than 40 years, but our three sons lost a wonderful father and our grandchildren their beloved papa.
But something else happened that day and in the days that have followed.
My family’s spirit has been lifted by the outpouring of support and kindness from our community. That community begins with friends and neighbors, and expands to include the community of Tucson.
It does not end there. We are a community as a state and as a nation. When a tragedy like this takes place, we come together as a people — and this is exactly what occurred for my family after the events of Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011.
The expressions of kindness and concern have been beyond measure and came from friends and neighbors, many of whom brought food for our family. Safeway, Basha’s, A.J.’s Fine Foods and Macaroni Grill also delivered meals to serve the many family and friends that gathered at our home. Flowers and plants arrived to brighten our dark days.
As a family, we received hundreds of cards and letters expressing condolences and prayers. These expressions of concern included a card from the person from Supercuts who has cut my husband’s hair for the last 19 years. She said he was the nicest man she ever knew.
Condolences also arrived from our veterinarian’s office, the staff of the Desert Foothills Post Office and the person who treats our home for termites, to name just a few.
On the evening of this tragedy, I looked out our front window to see two small lighted votive candles sitting on our fountain. I have no idea which neighbor committed this small act of kindness, but I certainly felt their concern for my family and me.
A small memorial with the words, “For our friend and neighbor” including an American flag stands in front of another neighbor’s home. Someone left a Ben’s Bell, which symbolizes kindness toward one another.
On Friday, Jan. 14, as my family and I traveled the route to the cemetery, our hearts were uplifted when we observed fire trucks from the Northwest Fire Department, Station 30, parked by the side of the road with their lights flashing and a large American flag displayed. A row of firemen stood at attention.
All along the route people got out of their cars or stood by the side of the road and saluted or waved American flags. I don't know who these people were, but their kindness and concern was evident and I know they are part of our community.
Tucson suffered a tremendous tragedy in lives lost and people injured on Jan. 8 — but we also had many heroes that day. Throughout this week, my family has observed a variety of agencies working together to assist not only our family, but to make our community a better place.
We are a caring and resilient people and we will rise above this tragedy, hopefully becoming a kinder and more respectful people.
My husband strived in his life to treat each person with dignity and respect. He loved America and was proud of our tradition of democracy.