Today I am still reeling from the emotions that came to the surface yesterday after the attempted assassination of members of Congress who were on a practice field in Alexandria, Virginia early in the morning. As I write this, two of the five injured as still in critical condition. Congressman Steve Scalise, Republican from Louisiana and Majority Whip – a member of the leadership – has been through three surgeries in 24 hours. Matt Mika, a former Congressional staffer, who now lobbies for Tysons Foods and was helping coach was shot twice in the chest.
Zack Bart a young legislative staffer with Congressman Roger Williams of Texas suffered a through and through shot to the calf. He was released from the hospital yesterday. Congressman Williams injured his foot/ankle when diving into the dug out and today as he coaches the team, is hobbling on crutches.
The heroes of the day were the two Capitol Hill Police officers, David Bailey and Crystal Griner who were on protective detail with Congressman Scalise. Their presence, training, and swift action surely saved many lives. Senator Rand Paul said that had they not been there, it would have been a massacre. Officer Bailey has been released from hospital on crutches, Officer Griner remains in the hospital with a gun shot wound to her ankle.
I like many Americans was glued to the television and watching members of Congress recount their experience. I recognized that like anyone who has been through a traumatic event, it is important for them to talk about it, to tell their stories. For me, and for many others I am sure, memories of September 11, 2001 flew up to the surface.
In many ways, Washington has been a lot like it was in 2001, fresh off an election, the partisan divide larger than ever and rife with vitriol. And because the entire nation has been affected by these events, there is a call for unity.
Can we as a nation, focus on becoming more civilized with one anther? Can we remember to be respectful, to cease the name calling, accept that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, political views, and spiritual beliefs? Can we remember that we are stronger together?
None of us knows what tomorrow will bring. I hope we can truly focus on unity and civility.