A widow in the first lady's box unites a divided country, briefly

Nation stands united with Navy SEAL widow

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The widow of Navy SEAL William Ryan Owens, who died in a now politically-contentious raid in Yemen in January, briefly united a divided Congress and country when President Trump honored her during his joint address Tuesday.

“We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of US Navy special operator, senior chief William Ryan Owens,” President Trump said. “Ryan died as he lived. A warrior, and a hero, battling against terrorism and securing our nation.”

The second of two standing ovations for the Owens’ lasted one minute and thirty eight seconds, by far the longest ovation of the night, and one of the longest in recent memory. Mrs. Owens tried and failed to hold back tears as she stood, clapped, and occasionally mouthed words upwards, perhaps to her husband, perhaps to God.

“Unfortunately I’ve listened to Amazing Grace play on the bagpipes at funerals way too more than I’d wish on anyone. And those moments are always very powerful,” Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA), a former Navy SEAL told WUSA9. “And those moments are special for her, and for her family, and for Ryan. And for our community, quite frankly, it was very, very powerful. It was awesome to be a part of it.”

Rep. Taylor said that seeing the pain on Mrs. Owens’ face served an important purpose both for the nation at large, and for the new commander in chief.

“When you look at  the past 15 years in these wars, you’ve got less than one percent of the population that’s gone over and over and over. So you really have a huge swath of our country who is not close to it, who hasn’t participated in some of the sacrifices,” Taylor said. “So it’s very important that they see what the cost is. It’s very important that the President sees what the cost is.”

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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