Daniel Hernandez, the gay intern credited with saving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life after she was shot in the head, was honored at the Arizona memorial service this week. 20 year old Hernandez sat next to the president himself before taking the stage.
“Although I appreciate the sentiment, I must humbly reject the use of the word ‘hero’ because I am not one. The people that are the heroes are the people like Pam Simon, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Gabe Zimmerman, who unfortunately, we lost that day, Ron Barber, the first responders, and also people like Dr. Rhee who have done an amazing job at making sure Gabby is OK and those who are injured are being treated to the best of our ability."
This rightly prompted a standing ovation. We agree that there’s plenty of hero worship to spread around the group. By all accounts, there were amazing and life-saving actions by all mentioned. But let’s not distract from the fact that we’ve heard over and over again that when the bullets rang out, it was Daniel Hernandez who ran toward the gunshots, rather than away from them. He’s credited with preventing Rep. Giffords from choking to death on her blood, and he is an American hero.
If you missed the televised memorial service in Tuscon this week, please take a moment to watch Hernandez’ speech. You won’t regret it.