Gabby Giffords skydives on 3rd anniversary of shooting

3:51 PM, Jan 8, 2014   |    comments
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Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was seriously injured in the mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, for a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence.

(USA TODAY/AP) -- Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has completed a skydive jump on what is the third anniversary of the Tucson, Arizona, shooting that left her critically wounded.

Giffords landed without any injury Wednesday afternoon at a skydiving site between Phoenix and Tucson.

Giffords, one of 13 people wounded in the massacre that also killed six, 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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