Giffords Marks 3rd Anniversary of Shooting With Skydive

Tucson ceremonies remember victims

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jan 8, 2014 5:30 PM CST

(Newser) – Gabby Giffords marked the third anniversary of being shot in the head in Tucson by, of all ways, skydiving. Elsewhere across the city, others gathered for bell-ringing and flag-raising ceremonies to remember the six killed and 13 injured—including the former Arizona congresswoman—on Jan. 8, 2011. Giffords waved and blew kisses to a crowd at a skydiving site between Phoenix and Tucson after landing. "Happy she's safe. So proud of her bravery," Giffords' husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, wrote on his Twitter account after the tandem jump with his wife strapped to a professional skydiver.

Jimmy Hatch, a former Navy SEAL who accompanied Giffords along with others, said the group held hands and formed a circle shortly after exiting the aircraft, then made a line with Giffords in the middle. "They did a little moment of silence at the drop zone," he said. "The emotion was really heavy. Then she smiled and said, 'Let's go.'" (In an op-ed, Giffords vowed to continue the fight for stricter gun laws.)

Gabby Giffords blows kisses to the media, waves, and says, 'It was wonderful as she describes her skydiving experience.
Gabby Giffords blows kisses to the media, waves, and says, 'It was wonderful" as she describes her skydiving experience.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
In this photo released by NBC, Gabby Giffords comes in for a landing during her tandem skydive. (She's at right.)
In this photo released by NBC, Gabby Giffords comes in for a landing during her tandem skydive. (She's at right.)   (AP Photo/NBC)
People assemble on the lawn outside University of Arizona Medical Center during a remembrance ceremony on the third anniversary of the Tucson shootings.
People assemble on the lawn outside University of Arizona Medical Center during a remembrance ceremony on the third anniversary of the Tucson shootings.   (AP Photo/Matt York)
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