Gabby Giffords lands safely after skydiving on Jan. 8 anniversary - Tucson Local Media: News

Gabby Giffords lands safely after skydiving on Jan. 8 anniversary

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 9:23 am

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords skydived Wednesday to mark the the third anniversary of the mass shooting at her campaign event that took the lives of six people.

In a series of tweets Giffords posted, "It's been step by step since I was shot three years ago. I've overcome alot. Progress has come from working hard. Today, I grieve, I remember, and I take another step. I'm stronger now. I'm winning back movement in my right arm."

In another she posted a photo of her and her husband Mark Kelly on a phone call with Vice President Joe Biden wished her good luck for her jump.

Giffords also tweeted a photo with the caption, "I have the opportunity to do something I love: skydiving with my friend, former Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch."

Over an hour later Mark Kelly tweeted a photo of Gabby landing from her jump, captioned, "Gabby landed beautifully. Happy she's safe. So proud of her bravery."

Giffords, one of 13 people wounded in the massacre, was shot in the head and has undergone intensive physical therapy. On Wednesday, she retweeted a tweet from NBC's Savannah Guthrie: "Today: Gabby Giffords will mark 3rd anniversary of #Tucson shootings by skydiving here in AZ."

The anniversary also will be observed in Tucson with bell-ringing, flag-raising ceremonies and church events. This week, officials in Tucson also unveiled plans for a downtown memorial to honor the victims.

Giffords, 43, wrote an op-ed in Wednesday's New York Times saying she continues to improve.

"Many may look at me and see mostly what I have lost," Giffords wrote. "I struggle to speak, my eyesight's not great, my right arm and leg are paralyzed, and I left a job I loved representing southern Arizona in Congress."

But Giffords said that, while learning to walk and talk again, she also searched for a larger purpose. She found it after the mass slaying of schoolchildren in Connecticut in December 2012.

"It shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path. After that day, my husband and I pledged to make it our mission to change laws and reduce gun violence in a way that was consistent with our moderate beliefs and our identities as proud gun owners."

Jared Lee Loughner, now 25, was sentenced in November 2012 to seven consecutive life sentences plus 140 years after pleading guilty to 19 federal charges in the shooting.

Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, live in Tucson. They have founded a political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, to support legal limits on guns and counter the lobbying power of the gun industry and pro-gun advocates.

"We will seize on consensus where it exists, on solutions big or small," Giffords wrote in the Times. "We will fight for every inch, because that means saving lives. I've seen grit overcome paralysis. My resolution today is that Congress achieve the same."

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