Gabrielle Giffords celebrated the third anniversary of the shooting in which she was severely injured – by skydiving!
In the shooting incident 3 years ago, six people were killed and 13 wounded when a gunman opened fire at an event held by Giffords.
She completed her jump and landed safely Wednesday afternoon at a skydiving site between Phoenix and Tucson. After landing, Giffords waved to a crowd of reporters and described the jump as “a wonderful experience.”
At a ceremony held in Tucson on Wednesday outside the University of Arizona Medical Center, about 100 residents gathered, and a bell was rung to remember those killed and injured.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said:
“The wounds are still there. Time helps, but it doesn’t heal all the wounds. I think the commemorations are, in large part, recognition of our community’s collective care and compassion and grit to go on.”
Giffords wrote on her Facebook page that she planned to skydive with her friend, former Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch. Giffords also mentioned that she was regaining movement in her right arm.
Vice-President Joe Biden called Giffords on Wednesday to wish her good luck on her jump. “Gabby’s courage & determination has been absolutely inspirational,” Biden tweeted.
Giffords replied to Biden with a picture and message posted on Twitter:
Thanks for the good luck call @VP @JoeBiden. Join me next time? pic.twitter.com/XmcZvDkYZC
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) January 8, 2014
Giffords still has difficulty with speaking and walking, but that hasn’t stopped her being very active in the group called Americans for Responsible Solutions – a safe gun ownership lobby. So far, they have not had any noticeable effect, but they have hopes for the future.
Given the extent of her injuries, Gabrielle Gifford’s recovery to the point that she can successfully skydive is little short of miraculous. It is a tribute to the skill of her doctors but, mainly, a tribute to her great courage and tenacity. We wish her well.