I must say that I am quite surprised by the tone of tonight’s memorial service. In fact, I as I write this, it is still going on. It seems more like a pep rally. Perhaps my expectations were wrong. Given that six have been killed, I am surprised to hear raucous applause, and wolf-whistling.
From the look on his face, it seems the President is a bit surprised too. I think his remarks were well prepared and of the right tone. It seems clear that he did not prepare to address a pep rally. In a way he had to restore a proper tone to the whole thing. As he said, “Our hearts are broken…yet they are full of confidence” I thought, this is to be the right tone. Increasingly as the President spoke I think a more proper tone was restored.
To be sure, there is much to celebrate. It was proper for there to be applause when the President said, “Gabby opened her eyes.” There was heroism to celebrate, even some standing O’s to be granted.
But somehow the overall tone, especially early on, seemed a bit off to me.
I wonder if this is another symptom of how unchurched we have become? Even at the conclusion of the readings from scripture and the liturgically proper declaration, “The Word of the Lord” there was applause and whistles. Very strange indeed. I realize it was not a church service per se, but it was called a memorial service and some distinction exists in my mind between that and a pep rally.
Age may be a factor too. A lot of college students seem to have been in the audience and perhaps they are less schooled in demeanor in the face of tragic death.
What do you think? Is it just me? Am I becoming an old, stodgy man a bit too early (at 50)? Is solemnity departing from our culture? Have we lost a shared sense of proper demeanor?
Remember that this is not a political blog per se. You may wish to opine on the political aspects of tonight’s service. But my main concern is the tone of the service and what this says about our culture and how it might reflect on the increasingly un-churched status of many.
Please understand my questions are real. They are not intended as rhetorical questions. Please let me know what you think. My own impressions may be very different from yours.