"On Saturday, we all became Tucsonans. On Saturday, we all became Arizonans. And above all, we all became Americans."
- Daniel Hernandez, the intern credited with saving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's life during last Saturday's shooting in Tucson
In addition to being impressively courageous, 20-year-old University of Arizona student Daniel Hernandez turns out to be an impressive public speaker.
Hernandez spoke at the memorial service held at the university in Tucson tonight, also attended by President Obama. During his speech, Hernandez begged off the title of "hero," saying it belonged to others, among them his boss, Giffords. But Obama called him a hero anyway.
Hernandez had been working for Giffords for five days Saturday when suspected gunman Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a public event outside a grocery store. Six were killed, including a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl, and several others injured. Hernandez ran to the victims as he heard the shots, taking the pulses of those on the ground, stemming the bleeding from the bullet wound on Giffords' forehead and preventing her from choking.
When Hernandez said "we all became Americans" the crowd responded with a roar. Beyond his heroism, part of what has drawn so much attention to his story is that Hernandez is a dark-skinned Latino, someone who critics of Arizona's SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law say could be racially profiled if that portion of the law went into effect. He is also openly gay.
Here's his speech: