On June 17, a lone gunman stole the lives of 9 churchgoers at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina; another outbreak in our nation’s epidemic of mass murders.
The murder took place in the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South, a home to the struggle to end slavery, the Civil Rights Movement and most recently, the “Black Lives Matter” Movement. Among the victims was Clementa Carlos “Clem” Pinckney, a State Senator, senior pastor, and one of our nation’s most influential and revered citizens.
It is tragically and dishearteningly ironic that before opening fire and shouting racial epitaphs in this historical sanctuary, the murderer was welcomed by the group to join them in bible study.
On June 26th, while delivering the eulogy for Clementa Pickney, President Barack Obama created what I believe will go down as an epic moment in American history. The President spoke of the victims, the nation’s past, the future, and most of all the meaning of God’s grace, singing ‘Amazing Grace’ to the 5,000+ attendees who packed the TD Arena service in downtown Charleston.
President Obama, a man of mixed race with a Muslim-sounding name, has been a lightning rod since bursting onto the national scene at the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Boston. As President, he’s often been despised by the Right and criticized for not being liberal enough by the Left. Burdened from the start with a global economic crisis and two wars, it’s easy to just view Barack Obama through a political lens only.
However, Obama proved Friday that his influence on our nation and the world will extend beyond his presidency. Liberals and Conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, along with people from all races and religions were moved to tears by his healing words in Charleston. Perhaps no American public figure since Abraham Lincoln has proven to us quite like Obama the importance of words and delivery. The optics of the crowd in that building witnessing a strong, compassionate, visionary African American man speaking powerful words of healing, and knowing that this man is also the President of the United States will be seared into the national consciousness for generations.
We urge you to watch President Barack Obama’s Eulogy with your family.
R. Harvey Bravman, Publisher