Thousands gather for the funeral of girl born on 9/11
They laid Christina Green to rest in front of a crowd of thousands, and beneath an American flag that was recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Centre shortly after 11 September 2001, the day she was born.
A coffin holding the body of the nine-year-old girl, the youngest of the six victims of Saturday's shooting and the first to have a funeral, was met by her family outside a Catholic church in Tucson early yesterday afternoon.
Also present at the service was Mark Kelley, the US astronaut and husband of Gabrielle Giffords, whom Christina had decided to meet at a local branch of Safeway because she was interested in politics. She had recently been elected to her school's student council.
Crowds outside the church, including many of the victim's school-friends, dressed in white as part of a tribute organised over the internet. Roughly 20 wore angel costumes to watch the Green family arrive, pushing their daughter's coffin, made from red oak by Trappist monks in Iowa.
Proceedings were broadcast live, and many had feared that the event would be hijacked by a small number of demonstrators from the Westboro Baptist Church, an ultra-Conservative congregation from Kansas who picket military funerals wielding placards that say "God Hates Fags."
The wings of the people dressed as angels were originally intended to block their signs. But the group decided to cancel their protest after a local radio station decided to give members airtime to broadcast their hardline views opposing homosexuality.
Christina was born on 9/11, and later featured in a book called Faces of Hope, which chronicled the lives of one baby from each state born on the day that terrorists killed nearly 3,000.
The University of Arizona choir performed at the ceremony, along with a piper, who played "Amazing Grace". The front of the programme had a picture of Christina wearing a tiara. On the back were lyrics from the Billy Joel track "Lullaby": "Good night my angel, now it's time to sleep."
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