Remembering Jan. 8
Giffords makes first return to Safeway shooting site
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned Saturday to the Safeway parking lot where she was shot a year ago.
Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly visited the Northwest Side grocery store for the first time since she was shot through the head last Jan. 8.
She also took a short hike and paid a visit to the intensive care unit where she was treated last year.
Kelly said Giffords pointed out the parking spot she remembers choosing that morning as she arrived for a "Congress On Your Corner" meet-and-greet with constituents.
Eighteen others were shot in the attack, which authorities charge was an assassination attempt on the congresswoman. Six people were killed.
"It’s been a tough year, but we're lucky to have so many people standing w/ us," Kelly posted on his Facebook page.
Kelly tweeted a photograph of the visit, showing him, his wife and her chief of staff, Pia Carusone, standing on the sidewalk of the store, near where Giffords was shot.
Earlier in the day, Giffords paid a visit to a hiking trail dedicated to Gabriel Zimmerman, a congressional aide who was killed on Jan. 8.
She surprised hikers at the Davidson Canyon Gabe Zimmerman Memorial Trailhead on Saturday when she showed up to do a bit of hiking herself.
Giffords greeted supporters and walked about 300 yards and back, said Tucson Asst. Chief of Police John Leavitt, who was at the trail with his son, John, during a scheduled hike, part of the BEYOND remembrance of Jan. 8.
She also visited the doctors and nurses at the UA Medical Center intensive care unit, Kelly posted on Facebook.
"We are so thankful for their care," he said.
Giffords is scheduled to participate in a memorial vigil Sunday evening at the University of Arizona, but her office has provided few details.
While the extent of Giffords' participation is still closely held, a rumor in political circles said she may lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the event.
Mark Kelly was previously announced as a speaker at the vigil, and indicated at a book reading last month that Giffords would return for the first anniversary of the shooting.
This is the fourth time Giffords has returned home to Tucson. She last visited during Thanksgiving when she and Kelly served a holiday dinner to airmen at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
She also returned for Father's Day and Labor Day weekends.
Since shortly after the shooting, Giffords has been undergoing therapy in Houston, where her husband was based while serving as an astronaut.
In that time, she has made few trips outside of Texas. In addition to her trips home, she traveled to Florida twice for the launch of the space shuttle and twice to Washington, D.C.,: once to vote on the debt bill and again for Kelly's retirement ceremony. She also flew to North Carolina for a short stint of rehabilitation.