Born amidst great tragedy, so too did she die.
Dark days bookended a life too short – it lasted less than a decade – but, despite the despair, from it, great hope endures.
Her name, Christina-Taylor Green. You might know her better as the Angel of Tucson.
Twelve months have passed since the nine-year-old died, shot in a parking lot in Arizona in an attack that killed five others and injured 13, including Gabrielle Giffords.
The recovering congresswoman joined thousands in Tucson at the weekend to mark an awful event’s first anniversary, paying tribute in the process to Christina-Taylor and the others to have lost their lives on January 8, 2011.
Christina-Taylor might have passed, but her tale has more chapters still to be penned.
For in death, as in life, Christina-Taylor is making a difference in the world.
This a girl born on September 11, 2001, one adamant that she had, to quote Roxanna Green, her mother, ‘the best life’, one craving a career helping those less fortunate.
That fateful morning 12 months ago, she had been hoping to see Ms Giffords during a public meet-and-greet session. Elected to her student council at school, she had been keen to talk to the congresswoman about her political career and about making a difference.
‘She believed it was important to help others, to try to make a difference in the school, and to put others first,’ explained Serenity Hammrich, Christina-Taylor’s closest friend. ‘She wasn’t afraid of boys or sports or anything’.
Courage defined a third-grader who, having promised her peers ‘I will work hard to make Mesa Verde (her school) a better place for us all’, backed up brave words with actions.
Not long after her election, Christina-Taylor noticed other children picking on a newcomer on the school bus. She sat next to the boy, for two weeks, until the abuse had stopped.
Those bus rides encapsulate her life, characterizing her outlook and an attitude that inspires.
The Face of Hope, offering hope to others; always lending a hand, always reaching out, always there, making connections.
To quote Roxanna, ‘She was an amazing little girl … we don’t want anyone to ever forget about her … she did exceptional work in the nine years she was here and that’s what our story is about … it’s an inspiring story, a story of hope’.
It’s a story that continues.
In the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation, a non-profit organization that, in her name, supports education, arts and athletic programs; in her wish to be an organ donor.
Thanks to the latter ambition, the eyesight of two young children has been saved, so too, quite possibly, the life of a third person.
It is quite a legacy, but then Christina-Taylor was quite a person.
Our kind of person, a person for us all to learn from, a person to inspire as we step up our own efforts to use our OMs to make a difference in the world.
Christina-Taylor featured in a book about babies born on September 11, 2001, the day that terrorist attacks in the United States claimed more than 3,000 lives.
The book, according to its publishers, was intended to serve as a reminder that ‘life is a circle and hope always exists’. It is something for us all to bear in mind.
Christina-Taylor might not have realized her dreams to dance alongside Beyonce, to become the first woman to play in Major League Baseball or to become the President of the United States.
But she did make a difference in the world and she continues to do so.
That is the greatest achievement of all.
President Obama, eulogizing about Christina-Taylor 12 months ago, said, ‘I want America to be as good as she imagined it’.
It is our hope too, a hope that Christina-Taylor Green has given us, a hope that lives on in her name.