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What I really know about patriotism is how we love our heroes.

Gabrielle Giffords' First Interview Since Arizona Shooting with Diane Sawyer

One of my favorites is Lenny Skutnik. Skutnik dived into the icy waters of the Potomac River to save a passenger on Air Florida Flight 90, which crashed in January And there's "Sully. Airways Flight afloat on the Hudson River?

The patriotism of boomers was forged by threats, tragedies and triumphs

Sputnik , Skutnik and Sully helped fashion the rich fabric of the patriotism I know. Your turn! Tell us what you really know about favorite vacations Email your essay of up to words to whatiknow aarp. NW, Washington, DC Please include your name and a phone number or email address. You are leaving AARP.

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Please return to AARP. Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive. Their new book, Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence , is being published Tuesday by Scribner — a sort of sequel to their book, Gabby , which chronicled the shooting and her all-but-miraculous survival.

Now a day with Giffords and Kelly at their colorful, comfortable Spanish-style house gives a glimpse into how far she has come, and how far she has to go. Intact are her signature smile, warm manner, quick laugh and sharp memory. She occasionally launches into song lyrics.

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She loves to ride her recumbent bike, the steering stick in her good left hand, in nearby Reid Park. Stamina permitting, she hopes to join this year's El Tour de Tucson , an annual event that draws thousands of cyclists on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. But her right leg is in a brace and she walks slowly and stiffly, with the help of a cane.

She has limited use of her right arm. She struggles to speak in sentences, instead responding to questions and joining into conversations with a burst of key words. She has put aside her dream of having children. That said, she has progressed further than she thought possible in the terrifying weeks after she awoke from a coma, remembering little about the shooting at a "Congress on Your Corner" event on a Saturday morning outside a grocery store.

At one point, Kelly shorthands a reference to the tragedy simply as "The Safeway. With the death of former White House press secretary James Brady last month, Giffords is the nation's most prominent victim of gun violence. What does that mean to her?

Gun Policy: The Continued Triumph of Angry Extremists

The "right thing" she and Kelly have decided to do is to push for laws that would make it harder for criminals, stalkers and the mentally ill to buy guns. Despite national revulsion to a string of mass shootings and overwhelming support in polls, a bipartisan proposal they lobbied for to expand federal background checks for gun buyers failed to get over a key hurdle last year. It fell six votes short of the 60 needed to move forward in the Senate. Asked about the decision by a friend and fellow Arizonan, Republican Sen.

Gabby Giffords: Seeking triumph from tragedy | Oregon Jewish Life

Jeff Flake, to vote against the measure, she says "millions! Kelly, a former combat pilot for the Navy and space shuttle commander for NASA, admits he was more surprised than she was by Congress' failure to act. Both insist they are in the fight for the long haul, with the goal of forging a formidable movement that would provide a balance to the power of the NRA. Neither Giffords nor Kelly takes a salary from the group; Kelly does some outside speaking and consulting.

A searing TV ad a Politico headline about it read, "Gabby Giffords gets mean" showed a local woman tearfully describing how an enraged ex-boyfriend had murdered her year-old daughter. McSally, a retired Air Force pilot, last week released a statement saying she supports tighter rules on stalkers, and Americans for Responsible Solutions took down the ad. McSally spokesman Patrick Ptak disputes that. She's got gun cred. She is precisely the type of foe the NRA fears. NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam declined to comment for this story.

The bronze plaque that once marked the entrance to Giffords' suite in the Longworth House Office Building in Washington now sits in a niche in the foyer of their home.

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  8. Asked what she misses most from her former life, Giffords doesn't hesitate. So exciting. Miss Congress. I hope that law enforcement and prosecutors act swiftly and justly to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. Like so many Americans, I am in shock at this senseless act of violence. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, the Giffords family, and all of those affected by this tragedy. Our thoughts, our hopes — we pray that they can feel them and know just a small measure of peace.

    We offer our condolences to those who have lost their loved ones.

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    We offer our assistance, in any way that it might be helpful, to those who have survived and will struggle, as we have, to heal from the unspeakable horror of gun violence. Gabrielle Giffords, a remarkable public servant shot while meeting with constituents today. We do not yet know the specific motive behind this despicable act. But there can be no ignoring the increasing culture of violence in our nation and particularly in our political discourse.

    View the discussion thread. Skip to main content. Lacy Clay D-Mo.

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    Barbara Boxer D-Calif. Edward Markey D-Mass. Henry Waxman D-Calif. Mark Udall D-Colo. Robert Dold R-Ill. Mitt Romney R-Mass.

    Gabby Giffords: Seeking triumph from tragedy

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