A week after nine black churchgoers were murdered Charleston, South Carolina, President Barack Obama went to Charleston to eulogize Rev. and State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the leader of the church where the massacre occurred.
Obama sang “Amazing Grace” as part of the service, an act that had the entire packed church on its feet—and the Internet, too.
“Clementa Pickney found that grace,” Obama said. He went on to name all nine victims of the shooting, though the focus of the service was decidedly Pickney.
“We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith,” Obama said. “A man who believed in things not seen. A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. A man of service who persevered knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would provide a better life for those who followed.”
On the right, pundit Ann Coulter took the opportunity to criticize the president and all Americans who, over the last week, have moved to take down the Confederate flag from government buildings.
OBAMA ENDS CHARLESTON SERVICE WITH SONG WRITTEN BY A SLAVE TRADER. Shouldn't we ban "Amazing Grace," along with the Confederate flag?— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 26, 2015
“Amazing Grace” was written by John Newton, a slave-ship captain who turned into a vocal abolitionist later in life.
Obama’s emotional eulogy caps off a week that saw profound changes in U.S., from governments removing the Confederate flag from state grounds to the historic Supreme Court marriage-equality ruling. When Obama began to sing, the Internet’s emotional dam burst wide open.
seriously. this week. just wow— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) June 26, 2015
Today is a day for seeing stuff that 15 years ago you never thought you’d see— Matt Berman (@Mr_Berman) June 26, 2015
That was fantastic. Folks at the airport watching Obama were mesmerized— Sam Stein (@samstein) June 26, 2015
What a truly incredible historic week— Dustin Volz (@dnvolz) June 26, 2015
This week is officially the beginning of the Obama legacy— Hilary (@NotThatHilary) June 26, 2015
America, fuck yeah.— Jason Linkins (@dceiver) June 26, 2015
Photo via White House/Wikimedia Commons (PD) | Remix by Max Fleishman