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Kirkpatrick, Grijalva, O'Halleran push national memorial status for Jan. 8 'Embrace'

The newly completed "Embrace" monument to the victims of the Jan. 8, 2011, attack on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords should be made a national memorial, Arizona members of Congress said.

A bill backed by Tucson-area Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva and Tom O'Halleran would make the memorial just outside the Old Pima County Courthouse should be a federal monument.

"The devastating attack that took place 10 years ago didn’t just impact my hometown of Tucson, it shook the whole country. The memorial, now completed, honors the victims, but also celebrates the strength of my community," Kirkpatrick said.

The memorial was finished last week, in time for the 10th anniversary of the attack that killed six and wounded 13 others, but is not yet open to the public due to COVID-19 measures.

"I am proud to work with my Arizona colleagues on introducing this legislation again in the 117th Congress, especially after the events that took place at the Capitol last week. We must always work to show that the strong will of good people can defeat hateful violence," Kirkpatrick said.

The measure is supported by Arizona's entire congressional delegation, Democrats and Republicans alike.

"In the midst of a couple of tough weeks," the bill is "a note of positive news," said Grijalva in a post on Facebook.

"The names of those killed and wounded in this tragic attack on Tucson 10 years ago on January 8th should be remembered and honored for generations to come," he said.

"2021 marks one decade since the deadly shooting at Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner event that took the lives of six Americans and irrevocably changed Gabby’s life, and the Tucson community, forever,” Rep. Tom O’Halleran said in a news release put out by Kirkpatrick's office. "As they are each year at this time, my thoughts are with the families of Christina-Taylor Green, Dorothy Morris, John Roll, Phyllis Schneck, Dorwan Stoddard, and Gabe Zimmerman, and with my friends Gabby and Mark, whose resilience inspires me every day."

"When we lift the stories and honor those who we lost, the heroes who sprung to action and the survivors of that senseless tragedy, we ensure future generations will learn about what happened that day," said Rep. Greg Stanton. "A National January 8th Memorial will serve as a reminder of what they stood for — civic duty, public service, and a democracy where everyone is invited to participate."

Pima County officials hope to open the "Embrace" memorial, in El Presidio Park next to the Historic Courthouse, to the public by early February, if the status of the pandemic permits it to be done safely.

The memorial features sloping walls with symbols depicting the values and interests held by each of the six people who died and the 13 survivors.

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Randy Metcalf/Pima County Communications