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Posted Jan 25, 2012, 9:58 am
The letter Gabrielle Giffords handed to Speaker of the House John Boehner on Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C.:
Dear Speaker Boehner:
In 2001, strongly holding the belief that there is no higher calling than serving my country, I went from selling tires in my Tucson family business to being a freshman representative in the Arizona State House. And for 10 years I served – in the Arizona legislature, in the United States Congress, and, after marrying Mark, as a proud military spouse. Always I fought for what I thought was right. But never did I question the character of those with whom I disagreed. Never did I let pass an opportunity to join hands with someone just because he or she held different ideals.
In public service, I found a venue for my pursuit of a stronger America – by ensuring the safety and security of all Americans, by producing clean energy here at home instead of importing oil from abroad, and by honoring our brave men and women in uniform with the benefits they earned. I found a way to care for others. And in the past year, I have found a value that is unbreakable even by the most vicious of attacks.
The tragic January 8th shooting in Tucson took the lives of six beautiful Americans and wounded 13 others, me included. Not a day goes by that I don't feel grief for the lives lost and so many others torn apart. Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, and Gabe Zimmerman embodied the best of America. Each in their own way, they committed their lives to serving their families, community and country, and they died performing a basic but important act of citizenship that's at the heart of our greatness as a nation. They will be remembered always by their country and by their Congress.
I don't remember much from that terrible day, but I have never forgotten my constituents, my colleagues, or the millions of Americans with whom I share great hopes for this nation. To all of them: Thank you for your prayers, your cards, your well wishes, and your support. And even as I have worked to regain my speech, thank you for your faith in my ability to be your voice.
The only way I ever served my district in Congress was by giving 100 percent. This past year, that's what I have given to my recovery. Thank you for your patience. From my first steps and first words after being shot to my current physical and speech therapy, I have given all of myself to being able to walk back onto the House floor this year to represent Arizona's 8th Congressional District. However, today I know that now is not the time. I have more work to do on my recovery before I can again serve in elected office.
This past year my colleagues and staff have worked to make sure my constituents were represented in Congress. But if I can't return, my district deserves to elect a U.S. Representative who can give 100 percent to the job now. For that reason, I have submitted the attached letter of resignation to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
Amid all that was lost on January 8th, there was also hope and faith. This past year, it is what I have often clung to: Hope that our government can represent the best of a nation, not the worst. Faith that Americans working together -- in their communities, in our Congress -- can succeed without qualification. Hope and faith that even as we are set back by tragedy or profound disagreement, in the end we come together as Americans to set a course toward greatness.
Everyday, I am working hard. I will recover and will return, and we will work together again, for Arizona and for all Americans.
Member of Congress