Aspiring politician Christina-Taylor Green was born in the midst of tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001, and died Saturday morning while trying to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The strong-willed 9-year-old third-grader had gone to meet Giffords with a neighbor when she was shot. She died later at University Medical Center.
Her neighbor was shot four times and was recovering from surgery Saturday evening.
Christina-Taylor had just been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School and had been interested in politics from a young age, her father, John Green, said Saturday night.
"She was a good speaker. I could have easily seen her as a politician," her father said.
The brown-eyed athletic girl had one sibling, an 11-year-old brother named Dallas, and the two loved to go swimming together.
She'd already told her parents she wanted to attend Penn State one day and have a career that involved helping those less fortunate than her.
She also loved animals and was a passionate dancer who loved ballet, hip-hop, jazz and gymnastics and was the only girl on her Canyon del Oro Little League baseball team, "The Pirates." She played second base.
Christina-Taylor came from a family of baseball players. Her grandfather, former major-league pitcher Dallas Green, was team manager for the Philadelphia Phillies when they won the World Series in 1980.
"She kept up with everyone, she was a strong girl, a very good athlete and a strong swimmer," said her mother, Roxanna Green. "She was interested in everything. She got a guitar for Christmas so her next thing was learning to play guitar."
Christina-Taylor also enjoyed singing in a church choir at St. Odilia's Catholic Church, where she had received her first Holy Communion in the spring.
"'Let the children come to me,' Jesus said (Matthew 19:14). Christina is with Him," Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas wrote in a letter to parishioners sent from Jordan, where he is attending a bishops' meeting.
Already aware of inequalities in the world around her, Christina-Taylor often repeated the same phrase to her mother: "We are so blessed. We have the best life."
Her birth date no doubt helped inspire Christina-Taylor's interest in politics, Roxanna Green said. She was one of 50 9/11 babies featured in a book called "Faces of Hope."
"She was born back east and Sept. 11 affected everyone there, and Christina-Taylor was always very aware of it. She was very patriotic and wearing red, white and blue was really special to her," her mother said.
"She was all about helping people, and being involved. It's so tragic. She went to learn today and then someone with so much hatred in their heart took the lives of innocent people."
Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4134.