Memorial Honors Those Who Died, Were Hurt In Tucson Shooting 10 Years Ago
A memorial honoring the 19 people who were shot 10 years ago during an attack on a member of Congress in Tucson was unveiled to the public Friday.
Chaplain Joe Fitzgerald read the names of the Jan. 8, 2011, victims. There were 19 victims in the attack that ended the political career of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Ron Barber was among those injured. He was Giffords' district director and went on to win the special election to finish her term. He spoke of the specifics of that day, how 33 rounds were fired in 19.6 seconds. But also, about the future.
"We were determined that the shooting would not define us. What happened in the days, the weeks, the months, the years after the shooting, that defines who we are," he said.
He then turned his focus to Tucson’s response in the aftermath and the memorials people put up at the hospital, at Giffords’ office and at the grocery store where the shooting took place.
"And now we have a permanent memorial and this is where we are conducting this remembrance today."
The memorial is called "The Embrace." Its symbols honor the survivors, the deceased and the first responders. There are also six gardens, "one for each person who died on Jan. 8," Barber said.
And 32 lanterns to represent challenges overcome as well as a tribute to the Tohono O’odham who were the first to live in the region.
In his blessing, Fitzgerald called for ongoing healing.
"We pray for healing from COVID-19, in our city, our country and our world," he said.
Giffords, a staunch gun control advocate wrote on Twitter on Friday morning that Americans must "continue achieving a safer America."
But in an op-ed published hours before in the New York Times, she spoke about her fears for her husband, newly elected U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, after a mob of insurgents stormed the U.S. Capitol this week.