It has been one year since Giffords became the victim of a gun shot wound to the head while reaching out to her constituents in a shopping center in Tucson. Her recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.
Now, just two days away from the president's 2012 State of the Union address, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords made the decision to step down from Congress.
In 2011 an empty seat where Giffords would have sat, set the stage for the president honoring her and remembering the other victims of that unfortunate day.
"I'm getting better every day. My spirit is high," said Giffords in an online video, her speech recognizably slow.
A statement by the president recognized Giffords for her "dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of perfecting our union".
Added President Obama, "Over the last year Gabby, and her husband Mark, have taught us the true meaning of hope in the face of despair, determination in the face of incredible odds, and now – even after she’s come so far – Gabby shows us what it means to be selfless as well. Gabby’s cheerful presence will be missed in Washington. But she will remain an inspiration to all whose lives she touched – myself included. And I’m confident that we haven’t seen the last of this extraordinary American."
Giffords says she will step down this week, but promises, "I will return, and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."