Thousands gather for Arizona girl's funeral

TUCSON, Ariz. - The casket for Christina Taylor Green seemed too small to hold the grief and despair of the 2,000 mourners who packed into a church Thursday to say goodbye to the 9-year-old girl whose life began and ended with two soul-searching moments for the country.

Reminders of the innocence of the bubbly girl born Sept. 11, 2001, were everywhere: A group of little girls dressed in frilly dresses and white tights craned to see as their friend's casket rolled into the church and Christina's best friend sneaked them a wave from her place in the processional line.

Outside the church, more little girls - and hundreds of other people - wearing white and waving American flags lined both sides of the street for more than a quarter-mile to show their support. Hundreds of motorcycle riders from all over stood guard and more than a dozen residents were dressed as angels.

Before the service, Christina's family and closest friends gathered under the enormous American flag recovered from Ground Zero and paused for a moment of silence, holding hands and crying.

"She would want to say to us today, 'Enjoy life,'" said Bishop Gerald Kicanas, who presided over the funeral. "She would want to say to us today, 'God has loved me so much. He has put his hand on me and prepared a place for me.'"

As Christina's family grieved, new developments emerged in the case when a man walking his dog found a black bag containing ammunition that authorities believe was discarded by the suspected gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner.

The third-grader was one of six people shot Saturday when a gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet event for Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot through the head but survived. Twelve others were also shot.


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