Boston bombing survivors, gay pro athlete to sit in First Lady's box
January 27th, 2014
06:00 AM ET
10 months ago

Boston bombing survivors, gay pro athlete to sit in First Lady's box

Washington (CNN) — Survivors of two 2013 disasters — both natural and made-made — will be honored guests at Tuesday’s State of the Union address alongside Jason Collins, the former NBA center who in 2013 became the first openly gay male athlete in one of the four major American pro leagues.

Invitees to the First Lady’s box at the annual address to Congress are usually chosen either for their bravery — last year’s included a Medal of Honor winner — or to illustrate a policy the President is advocating during his time in front of the cameras. In 2012 Obama invited Warren Buffett’s secretary to help push raising taxes for wealthy Americans.

The White House said on Monday it was inviting two survivors of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings — Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman — to the 2014 speech. The pair were featured in a now-iconic photo of the tragedy: Arredondo, wearing a white cowboy hat, rushed the the aide of Bauman after the blasts near the marathon’s finish line. Bauman later helped identify the brothers accused of planting the bombs, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Obama, who spoke the afternoon after the bombing took place, later traveled to Boston to attend a memorial service for the attack’s three victims.

The White House said Monday it had also invited Moore, Oklahoma’s fire chief, Gary Bird, to the State of the Union speech. Moore was the site of a massive tornado in May that left 25 people dead as it tore through town. Bird led a team of search-and-rescuers that pulled survivors from the wreckage.

As he did after the Boston terror attack, Obama visited Moore in the days after the tornado swept through to tour damage and meet survivors.

Collins made history in April when he came out as gay in a “Sports Illustrated" column.

Previously, no active male player in a major American sport had said he was gay. Obama called Collins on the week of the announcement and told reporters at the end of a press conference he was “very proud” of the player.

“I think America should be proud that this is just one more step in this ongoing recognition that we treat everybody fairly, and everybody's part of a family, and we judge people on the basis of their character and their performance, and not their sexual orientation," Obama said.

Other guests will include Kathy Hollowell-Makle, named Washington, D.C.’s teacher of the year, and Joey Hudy, who first met Obama at a White House science fair where he was showing a marshmallow cannon.


Filed under: Michelle Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    Parading Boston Bomb survivors, when the government failed to protect the citizens, may come back to haunt the Obamas.

    January 27, 2014 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    give it up rick. You don't get to whine about the President being a dictator and NSA overreach, then turn around and cry the President isn't doing enough when something happens.

    January 27, 2014 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  3. Doug in NYC

    Parading 9/11 victims, first responders and wounded veterans of the 2nd Iraq war by the GOP, when the government failed to protect them, may come back to haunt the GOP.

    Fixed it for you Rick.

    January 27, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    Parading Boston Bomb survivors, when the government failed to protect the citizens, may come back to haunt the Obamas.
    ------------------
    There are many on the right who are hoping for something bad to happen. One part of the 47% tape that didn't receive nearly as much discussion as it probably should have was Mitt Romney suggesting a strategy of taking a terrorist attack and making it into a political wedge issue against Pres. Obama.

    January 27, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. Al-NY,NY

    yeah Rick....just like Simple Sarah and the other GOP fools standing in front of the war memorials in DC bemoaning Obama and the shutdown.....

    January 27, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. Max

    Parading 9/11 victims, first responders and wounded veterans of the 2nd Iraq war by the GOP, 'IS CURRENTLY' hurting the GOP.

    January 27, 2014 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. Max

    Yeah! How paradoxical? While they whine about the President being a dictator and NSA overreach, they turn around and cry about he President isn't doing enough when something happens. Isn't he doing more than enough here?????

    Phew!

    January 27, 2014 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  8. Fair is Fair

    "There are many on the right who are hoping for something bad to happen. One part of the 47% tape that didn't receive nearly as much discussion as it probably should have was Mitt Romney suggesting a strategy of taking a terrorist attack and making it into a political wedge issue against Pres. Obama."
    -------–
    Mother Jones (hardly friendly to the right) has the full transcript of the 47% tape on their website. Not one mention of such a thing. Perhaps you can elaborate on what you interpreted?

    January 27, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion???

    I would like to see Malala in the FLOTUS box as well. She's an inspiration for ALL.

    January 27, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    Does " Mission Accomplished" ring a bell, Ricky?

    January 27, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  11. ChrisM

    Thank you Mrs Obama for honoring these people.

    January 27, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Mother Jones (hardly friendly to the right) has the full transcript of the 47% tape on their website. Not one mention of such a thing. Perhaps you can elaborate on what you interpreted?
    -------------------
    It's in there, Fair, so don't pretend that it isn't. BTW, I have no intention of quoting the tape, either. The 47% remarks simply overshadowed everything else that he had said, including the remarks about exploiting a terrorist attack.

    January 27, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    There are many on the right who are hoping for something bad to happen
    -------------------------------------------------
    I agree 100% with you on that comment Rudy.
    There are many on the right that have been salivating for a terrorist attack or indeed anything that bad that they can remotely pin back to this administration.
    I have never seen my fellow countrymen jump with GLEE when we lost the bid to the Olympics, but jump they did when we were unable to secure all of those jobs for our country.
    I have never seen my fellow countrymen shoot down good news regarding unemployment levels going down, but that they've done, some going as far as to say that the Labor Department is not measuring the unemplyment levels correctly.
    So yes many rwnj's are salivating, drooling themselves with the possibility that something bad will happen under this adminstration.
    It is shameful to realize that a certain segment of the population hellbent on gaining the reins are willing to see us suffer just to increase the chance that we will be dumb enough to believe them when they say that THEY can keep us safe.

    January 27, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  14. tom l

    @DMFO
    "I have never seen my fellow countrymen shoot down good news regarding unemployment levels going down, but that they've done, some going as far as to say that the Labor Department is not measuring the unemplyment levels correctly."
    ====
    You can be an ostrich and bury your head in the sand because the UE numbers have gone down and think that your fellow Americans are now working but it appears that it would only be based on your political leanings. What you take in as "celebration" is merely pointing out just how bad those numbers are and how much our fellow Americans are suffering and not working. Every admin has put across the phony, manipulated UE numbers. Does it worry you to know that those UE numbers don't include long term unemployed? Do you think that stat is relevant when it doesn't count the very fellow Americans that you seem so worried about with regards to their collecting long term UE? Look at the labor participation rate. That may make you, as an American (not a dem nor a repub) freak out. That is a real number. That tells you the percentage of those working out of the entire population of people that can work. It can't be faked. It can't be manipulated. Would it surprise or concern you to know that number is the lowest it has been since 1978? Translation: the lowest percentage of able Americans to work is working today. I welcome your response and I hope you understand that I certainly don't "celebrate" Americans that aren't working. I find it tragic.

    January 27, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama – It is shameful to realize that a certain segment of the population hellbent on gaining the reins are willing to see us suffer just to increase the chance that we will be dumb enough to believe them when they say that THEY can keep us safe.
    ----------------------------–
    and employed, healthy (and broke) and... as long as you do it their way...

    January 27, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    @Fair

    When asked about a pre-election crisis similar to the Iran hostage crisis that hurt Jimmy Carter.... "It's really, but...by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."

    And that is exactly what Romney's campaign ADMITTEDLY did after Benghazi. Search " Romney tape exploit attack " for related articles including: articles about the exact quote on the tape; and articles about the campaign admitting the exploitation.

    January 27, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Fair is Fair

    It's in there, Fair, so don't pretend that it isn't. BTW, I have no intention of quoting the tape, either. The 47% remarks simply overshadowed everything else that he had said, including the remarks about exploiting a terrorist attack.
    --------
    Ummm... no it's not. The full transcript says nothing of the sort.

    January 27, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. The REAL Truth...

    @tom l – What you take in as "celebration" is merely pointing out just how bad those numbers are and how much our fellow Americans are suffering and not working.
    ---------------------------–
    Tom I, that may be true.. the numbers don't mean much, but are regularly hyped by both sides. There simply aren't any real jobs out there.. I would hate to be unemployed right now.. thank God I am not, but there are those that are.. and the rhetoric from the right about continuation of unemployment benefits fostering the lazy class is pure BS. There will ALWAYS be those who abuse the system.. but most on unemployment need it to put food on the table. Most!
    It's the same for increasing the minimum wage.. it's not that it would increase prices, the real reason is that it will cut into profits and impact the "maximize shareholder value" class.. the other "lazy class", but the class with $$$

    January 27, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    @Fair

    When asked about a pre-election crisis similar to the Iran hostage crisis that hurt Jimmy Carter.... "It's really, but...by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."

    And that is exactly what Romney's campaign ADMITTEDLY did after Benghazi. Search " Romney tape exploit attack " for related articles including: articles about the exact quote on the tape; and articles about the campaign admitting the exploitation.
    -----–
    The context that was used in was around a discussion of foreign policy and specifically the Iranian nuclear program, not a terrorist attack. Your spinning, Amigo...

    January 27, 2014 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that's—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I'm afraid today if you said, "We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon," they'd go hold on. It's really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."
    -Mittens

    Sure sounds like he's saying he views a crisis as his opportunity to hammer Obama. BENGHAZIIIII!!!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Fair wrote:

    The context that was used in was around a discussion of foreign policy and specifically the Iranian nuclear program, not a terrorist attack. Your spinning, Amigo...
    ---------------------–
    Ah, suddenly you do know what I'm talking about after all.. Romney was reminded of how Reagan had taken advantage of the hostage crisis against Jimmy Carter. I actually quoted his reply just above.

    "It's really, but...by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."

    January 27, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "There are many on the right who are hoping for something bad to happen

    The GOP/Teatrolls have spent 6 years flirting with attempts to instigate something bad happening. Everything from their brinksmanship hostage games on the debt ceiling, refusal to enact jobs legislation, shutting down the gov't, interference in foreign relations decisions that belong to the POTUS, etc. etc. They WANT the suffering to continue and they HOPE there will be an incident that allows them to go on a massive blame offensive. They literally fantasize about it. They especially like the thought of total economic collapse and see it as a potential "reset button" to push their agenda. The latest round of debt ceiling hostage games have already begun.

    January 27, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    Sniffit

    "This president's failure to put in place a status forces agreement allowing 10-20,000 troops to stay in Iraq? Unthinkable! And yet, in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that's—that was—that was the focus, and so him solving that made all the difference in the world. I'm afraid today if you said, "We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon," they'd go hold on. It's really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."
    -Mittens

    Sure sounds like he's saying he views a crisis as his opportunity to hammer Obama. BENGHAZIIIII!!!!!!!!!
    -----–
    BIG difference between a foreign policy incident and a terrorist attack, Counselor. Rudy's a spin doctor.

    January 27, 2014 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Fair is Fair

    "Ah, suddenly you do know what I'm talking about after all.. Romney was reminded of how Reagan had taken advantage of the hostage crisis against Jimmy Carter. I actually quoted his reply just above. "
    ------–
    Foreign policy incident versus a "terrorist attack" as you originally stated. You're spinning – again.

    January 27, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    "BIG difference between a foreign policy incident and a terrorist attack, Counselor. Rudy's a spin doctor."
    --------------------------–
    Excuse me, Fair, but didn't the hostage crisis begin with an attack on the U.S. embassy in Tehran?

    January 27, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
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