by Jim Nintzel
Before he was seated next to First Lady Michelle Obama at tonight's State of the Union speech, Daniel Hernandez was at Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' office, where a group of 9/11 first responders delivered a signed flag to Congreswoman Gabrielle Giffords. They'd inscribed on the flag: "Congresswoman Giffords: When you return to Congress, it will be a beautiful day"—a reference to the U2 song that Giffords had picked to wake up the astronauts on a space shuttle flight commanded by her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, according to Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin.
Hernandez, who performed first aid on Giffords until paramedics arrived on the scene of Tucson's Jan. 8 shooting rampage, turned 21 today.
Karamargin sent out a second photo that features UMC's Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., Dr. Randall Friese and nurse Tracy Culbert meeting with Giffords' staff today.
President Barack Obama launched the speech with a mention of the shooting rampage that began 2011 in Tucson:
Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague — and our friend — Gabby Giffords.
It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.
But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater — something more consequential than party or political preference.
We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.
That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.