While news reports focused on all the collegial aisle-crossing in the House chamber for the State of the Union address Jan. 25, there were some interesting people in the gallery seats above the floor as well.
Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl was among the guests of House Speaker John Boehner, along with an assortment of students and teachers representing the archdiocese’s Consortium of Catholic Academies, other supporters of school choice and the Heritage Foundation.
In first lady Michelle Obama’s box were several Catholics who recently have made the news. They included Roxanna and John Green, and their son, Dallas. The family was among guests from Tucson, Ariz., with a connection to the Jan. 8 shootings that left 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green dead, along with five other people and 13 who were wounded. Also seated with the first lady were Daniel Hernandez, the intern who helped save his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and Dr. Peter Rhee, one of Giffords’ physicians from Tucson’s University Medical Center.
Another guest of the first lady was Mikayla Nelson, a freshman at Central Catholic High in Billings, Mont., who led her team to a first-place finish at the National Science Bowl with the design of their solar car.
Also among Michelle Obama’s guests and saluted by President Barack Obama in his speech were Gary and Robert Allen, brothers who volunteered their roofing business in Rochester Hills, Mich., to help repair the Pentagon after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack there. The brothers’ company was highlighted in CAM Magazine, of the Construction Association of Michigan, for its work on the roof of St. Paul Albanian Catholic Church in Rochester Hills.