Gabby Giffords To Mark Shooting Anniversary By Skydiving

Gabby Giffords plans to go skydiving to mark the third anniversary of being injured by a gunman. The former Arizona Democratic House Representative says the jump will serve to mark how far she’s come since being shot.

In 2011, a mass shooting claimed the lives of six and injured 12 along with Gabby Giffords in Tuscon, Arizona during a political event. Since the incident, Giffords retired from Congress to seek rehabilitation. However, Giffords has not been idle. She has become a major figure in a push for new gun control laws in the US.

The tragic events in 2011 left then-Representative Gabby Giffords with a serious wound to her head. With determination, Giffords has made significant strides in her recovery, successfully learning to walk again.

NBC‘s “Today” show was the first to announce Giffords’ plans for the Wednesday anniversary of the Tuscon shooting. Joining Giffords in her skydive jump will be her mother and husband Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut. Giffords has also invited her friend, Jimmy Hatch, a former Navy SEAL who was injured in Afghanistan.

In a Facebook post, Gabby Giffords says she grieves and remembers the losses of three years ago. However, Giffords says that she’s “stronger now. I’m winning back movement in my right arm. So I have the opportunity to do something I love: skydiving.”

As former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords marks the occasion, so does the Tuscon community. Wednesday morning a moment of silence was held, and a bell rang 19 times. University of Arizona Medical Center chaplain Joseph Fitzgerald also read aloud the names of those killed and injured during the shooting. He then led a short prayer asking for healing. Earlier this week city officials announced plans to build a memorial to honor the shooting’s victims in downtown Tuscon.

In her post, Gabby Giffords says it’s easy to look at her losses, which include paralysis in her right leg and arm, poor eyesight, and speech difficulties. However, since 2011, Giffords says she and her husband have found a new “mission” despite stepping down from Congress. The mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, Giffords says, “shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path.”

Gabby Giffords and her husband have since formed Americans for Responsible Solutions which supports reasonable gun control legislation.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons / White House]