On January 8, 2011 a gunman opened fire at a supermarket meet-and-greet in Tucson, Arizona, hitting former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head and critically injuring her. Six others were killed and thirteen were wounded.
The shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, is now serving a life sentence in prison.
Exactly three years later, after lots of rehabilitation, including learning to speak, walk, read, and write again, Giffords marked the anniversary of the shooting with a skydive jump between Tucson and Pheonix Wednesday afternoon.
According to Yahoo News, Giffords blew kisses and waved to cheering onlookers after she landed safely and without injury.
Jimmy Hatch, former Navy SEAL who accompanied the divers on the plane said, “She was the least nervous person on the plane. They did a little moment of silence at the drop zone…The emotion was really heavy. Then she smiled and said, ‘Let’s go.'”
Giffords posted on her Facebook page yesterday before the jump.
Gifford’s husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, also took to social media to express happiness for his wife.
Gabby landed beautifully. Happy she's safe. So proud of her bravery. pic.twitter.com/GTXWP2oNP0
— Mark Kelly (@ShuttleCDRKelly) January 8, 2014
On Wednesday, about 100 residents attended a bell-ringing ceremony outside the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson, where those who were injured by the gunman were treated.
“The wounds are still there. Time helps, but it doesn’t heal all the wounds,” Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild said. “I think the commemorations are, in large part, recognition of our community’s collective care and compassion and grit to go on.”
A bell was rung once for each of the six killed and twelve injured.
Before her jump, Vice President Joe Biden called Giffords to wish her luck.
“Gabby’s courage & determination has been absolutely inspirational,” Biden wrote on his office’s Twitter account, to which Giffords responded:
— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) January 8, 2014
Giffords anniversary jump was broadcast on NBC’s Today show this morning.
Image via Facebook