Representativehanded over her letter of resignation to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday morning in an extremely emotional moment. The Democrat from Arizona who had announced that she would step down from Congress to focus on her health was greeted with a round of applause from the members of the House of Representatives.
Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, last year, made a spectacular recovery in the past year. The congresswoman received intensive therapy at a Houston hospital for the brain injury she sustained in the shooting, supported by her husband, retired astronaut.
Wednesday morning, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi praised Gabrielle Giffords, calling her "the brightest star this congress has ever seen." "Your legacy in this congress and your leadership in our nation will certainly endure," she said.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also paid tribute to the congresswoman, saying that the House is "inspired, hopeful and blessed" for the "outstanding progress" Giffords has made in recovering from her January 8, 2011, ordeal.
Senate Minority Whipsaid, "She has become an example for us ... for indeed all the world. Of courage. Of clarity of purpose. Of grace. Gabby, we love you. We have missed you.”
Congressman Mike Pence told reporters that everyone’s heart was sad in the Chambers Wednesday morning when Representative Gabrielle Giffords handed her letter of resignation over to House Speaker John Boehner. “I cannot remember a time in my more than decade of service in Washington where I felt more moved by the courage and example of anyone in the well of congress,” said Pence.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, one of Gabrielle Giffords' closest friends in the House, read out her resignation letter. "Always I fought for what I thought was right. But never did I question the character of those with who, I disagreed. Never did I let pass an opportunity to join hands with someone just because he or she held different ideals," the letter read.
Gabrielle Giffords continued in her letter, "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."
"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. Every day I am working hard. I will recover and will return and we will work together again for Arizona and for all Americans," the letter concludes.
Seen as a rising politician, Gabrielle Giffords was one of the Democrats who won it big in the November 2010 election.