Ten years ago this week, a gunman shot Rep. Gabby Giffords in the head in Arizona. A decade later, as a mob besieged the Capitol, Giffords had to wait for the news that her husband, Sen. Mark Kelly, was OK. Giffords reflects on both moments in a New York Times op-ed, drawing a parallel between her own tough path of recovery and the one the nation must now take. "The last year has been so hard for all of us," she writes, ticking off the pandemic, lost jobs, closed schools, and increasingly bitter political fighting. "All around us is rancor, rage and hate, culminating in the scenes this week of Americans attempting to undermine their own democracy," she writes. "It’s going to take a long time before we feel strong again." But based on her own experience, she writes that she's optimistic it will happen.
"I have worked every day to move my right arm and leg," she writes. "I have trained every day to get my speech back." Similarly for the nation, "no magic recovery" exists. But "through hard work, intention and commitment our country will overcome the rage of those who stormed the Capitol with Confederate flags and symbols of hate," predicts Giffords. For inspiration, she looks to the first responders and frontline workers amid the pandemic. "We will move ahead together as I did and still do every day—one foot after another," she writes. "When one person flags, another person steps in—to lift up the weak, and give strength to the doubtful. Together, our resolve and determination will be fuel for years to come." (Read the full column.)