9-year-old’s life began, ended in tragedy
TUCSON, Ariz. | A memorial of ribbons, stuffed animals and flowers grew steadily Monday for the youngest victim of the weekend shooting spree, a third-grader whose patriotism was inspired by a national tragedy on the day she was born - Sept. 11, 2001.
Those who knew Christina Taylor Green said the precocious 9-year-old’s interest in government was the reason she attended the event Saturday that left five others dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gravely wounded.
“She was all about helping people and being involved. It’s so tragic,” her mother, Roxanna Green, told the Arizona Daily Star. “She went to learn … and then someone with so much hatred in their heart took the lives of innocent people.”
Stuffed bears and ribbons - pink, lavender, yellow - were tied to a chain-link fence Monday outside Mesa Verde Elementary School, where Christina had only recently been elected to the student council.
Candles, signed cards and a wooden cross with the words “Christina” and “Hope” lay against the fence; a baseball cap with the message “To Christina: I will miss you” was tied with a yellow ribbon. Nearby, students hugged one another, some weeping, as they left flowers and handwritten messages.
“She’d always be smiling,” she said. “My youngest said, ‘She was so nice Mommy. She always let me play with her.’ ” At the same time, Christina seemed mature for her age and to have a sharp vocabulary.
“It seemed like she was a grown adult,” Mrs. Stinnett said.
“Then there are those nine years in between and how she lived her life. Her life will make a difference, even though it was nine years and it was very abbreviated,” she said.
Standing beneath a waving American flag lowered to half-staff, school district Associate Superintendent Todd Jaeger said the goal Monday was to keep things as normal as possible for students.
Teachers met with a team of psychologists to discuss how to talk to the children about Christina’s death.
“One of the things we know is that we have to be honest with kids and answer their questions,” Mr. Jaeger said. “We need to answer those questions without adding to their angst.”
Christina enjoyed swimming with her 11-year-old brother, Dallas, and loved animals, singing, dancing and gymnastics, her mother said. She also had hopes of being the first woman to play major-league baseball.
Christina was featured in a book called “Faces of Hope” that chronicled one baby from each state born on the day terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.