As we all now know, the past four days may be regarded as one of the worst of times in recent memory for our Country.
For some as yet not well-understood reason, a young man shot down nineteen people. He would have shot more but bystanders stopped the killer before he could reload (they are true heroes). The attacked included a vivacious young congresswoman who is now fighting for her life in a Tucson, Arizona, hospital.
Perhaps what has followed in this tragedy will come to define us more than the attack. Almost immediately, the "blame-game" began - a "National Conversation" which descended into an often nasty tit for tat from opposite ends of the liberal-conservative continuum.
Into this calamitous downdraft stepped the president of the United States, one Barack Obama.
In perhaps one of the moments which will define his Presidency, President Obama gave to a grieving and confused Nation a richly crafted, flawlessly delivered and truly inspiring address.
President Obama spoke of hope - the hope of those 13 that are struggling to survive. He called upon each of us for healing and talking amongst each other in a way that heals and does not wound. Citing Scripture, President Obama called out to us asking that we not attempt to explain the inexplicable by assigning blame.
And, while agreeing that we should seek "to lessen the prospects of violence in the future," he insisted that "what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other" and instead focus upon our similarities rather than our differences. He spoke of humility and the need for kindness and compassion - making the lives of other people better.
He spoke of many of those victims and how they were making a difference in our lives and what sacrifices they made. How Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" events were "an updated version of government of and by and for the people." How Dorwin Stoddard's "final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers." He announced that Representative Giffords had just opened her eyes for the first time.
And, in what was a truly inspiring moment, President Obama invoked Christina Green's innocent enthusiasm, when he declared, "I want to live up to her expectations. ... I want America to be as good as she imagined it."
That is a message of hope, compassion and humility by which all Americans should live.