Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman from Arizona who was shot and wounded in a 2011 shooting, has been named this year's recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, the JFK Library said.
Giffords, who has embarked on gun control efforts with her husband Mark Kelly despite the injury she suffered from the shooting, is being honored for her "political, personal, and physical courage she has demonstrated in her fearless public advocacy for policy reforms aimed at reducing gun violence."
She will receive the award at a ceremony in Boston on May 5th.
Gabrielle Giffords, a former congresswoman shot and wounded more than two years ago, urged support for background checks on Wednesday.
She and her husband, Mark Kelly, spoke at a gun control rally in Tucson, Arizona, the same place where an assailant shot her in the head.
Kelly said his newly formed gun-control organization is sending a letter to U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, urging them to support background-check legislation.
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have launched their own website that specifically encourages elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.
Below is a link to Giffords and Kelly's Website and Op-Ed
Editor's note: Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to the January 2011 attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be sentenced Thursday. The shooting at a meet-and-greet in Tucson killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords. Her husband, Mark Kelly, will speak on her behalf at the sentencing. Below is his statement in full.
Mr. Loughner, for the first and last time, you are going to hear directly from Gabby and me about what you took away on January 8th, 2011 and, just as important, what you did not. So pay attention.
That bright and chilly Saturday morning, you killed six innocent people. Daughters and sons. Mothers and fathers. Grandparents and friends. They were devoted to their families, their communities, their places of worship.
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will attend Thursday's sentencing of the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to shooting her in the head, a source close to Giffords said.
Prosecutors have said Jared Loughner will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the January 2011 shooting, which killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords, at a meet-and-greet event in Tucson.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who moved the nation with an improbable comeback after a gunman shot her in the head last year, formally resigned Wednesday in an emotional appearance in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I will recover and will return," the Arizona Democrat said in a letter read aloud by her friend and colleague, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who fought back tears as she read.
A standing ovation roared across the House Chamber for Giffords, who served three terms. Teary eyed legislators from both parties applauded Giffords as she submitted her letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner, who also fought back tears.
The Republican presidential candidates will debate the issues of the day Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida. CNN.com Live will broadcast the debate tomorrow starting at 8pm ET.
Today's programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - Giffords to officially resign - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will hand in her resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner today. The letter will then be read on the House floor.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords took a few steps into the House chamber and absorbed a 90-second standing ovation before the State of the Union address Tuesday night, the eve of her resignation to focus on recovering from her shooting last year.
Giffords, escorted by colleagues including her friend U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, smiled and waved as attendees stood and cheered, with some chanting "Gab-by! Gab-by!"
Her husband, retired Navy captain and former astronaut Mark Kelly, smiled as he watched from his seat near first lady Michelle Obama. As President Barack Obama entered a few minutes later, the president paused at Giffords' seat and gave her a long embrace and a kiss on the cheek.
And when she stood during the speech and applauded Obama's lines, the Arizona Democrat was helped to her feet by a Republican and fellow Arizonan, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, who probably wouldn't be standing with Democrats during applause lines otherwise.
"It was the least I could do," Flake told CNN after the address. "It was just an incredible experience to be there with her, particularly after last year, having an empty chair where she should have been. It was just an overwhelming, emotional experience for, I think, all of us."
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords arrived in North Carolina on Sunday to undergo "intensive" rehabilitation as she continues her recovery from being shot in the head in a mass shooting in January, her office said.
The two-week trip to Asheville has been in the works for several months, according to her office. Her therapy sessions will begin Monday and last until November 4, according to her office.
A statement from the office said Giffords will be working with a therapist who treated her previously in Houston. The statement did not identify the therapist or any medical facility in Asheville involved.
The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on a last-minute compromise plan Tuesday to raise the nation's debt ceiling while imposing sweeping new spending cuts and narrowly averting an unprecedented national default.
Senators are set to vote on the plan about noon. Although the bill requires a supermajority of 60 votes to clear the 100-member chamber, it is expected to be easily approved.
The measure was approved by the House of Representatives on Monday by a 269-161 vote, overcoming opposition from unhappy liberal Democrats and tea party Republicans.
The measure needs to be signed into law by President Barack Obama before the end of the day. If the current $14.3 trillion debt limit is not increased by that point, Americans could face rapidly rising interest rates, a falling dollar and shakier financial markets, among other problems.
A three-judge federal appeals panel has ruled that Tucson shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner can refuse anti-psychotic medication.
The ruling comes days after the court said it would review an appeal by attorneys for the government who argued the alleged gunman should be forced to take anti-psychotic drugs for his behavior.
The federal appeals court last week temporarily halted the forced medication.
Capt. Mark Kelly announced his retirement from the United States Navy and NASA on his Facebook page Tuesday.
"Words cannot convey my deep gratitude for the opportunities I have been given to serve our great nation," he said in the post. "From the day I entered the United States Merchant Marine Academy in the summer of 1982 to the moment I landed the Space Shuttle Endeavour three weeks ago, it has been my privilege to advance the ideals that define the United States of America."
His retirement will take effect on October 1, the post said.
Kelly said that he wants to be with his wife Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on her "mission of recovery."
Giffords was shot in the head January 8 in a mass shooting in Tucson that left six people dead. She was sent to the Houston facility January 21 to undergo intense rehabilitation. She was released last week to go through outpatient therapy.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords touched down in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, on Friday to see her family for the weekend, according to her congressional office.
"Gabrielle and Mark are looking forward to a beautiful weekend," her office posted on Twitter.
Giffords was released from TIRR Memorial Hermann in Texas this week to begin outpatient rehabilitation, and the visit is her first to Arizona since January, her office said in a statement.
[Updated at 6:51 p.m. ET] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been released from a Texas hospital where she has been recovering from a January gunshot wound to the head, and she soon will start outpatient treatment at the same facility, the hospital said Wednesday.
Giffords, D-Arizona, will live with her husband in their home in League City, Texas, and will be assisted by a 24-hour home health provider, according to TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
"Congresswoman Giffords has shown clear, continuous improvement from the moment she arrived at TIRR five months ago," Dr. Gerard Francisco, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in a news release. "We are very excited that she has reached the next phase of her rehabilitation and can begin outpatient treatment. We have no doubt that she will continue to make significant strides in her recovery."
Six people were killed and 13 others, including Giffords, were wounded when a gunman opened fire in front of a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8.
Giffords has been at TIRR Memorial Hermann since January 26. Her husband, NASA astronaut and Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, eventually resumed training at nearby NASA facilities for a space shuttle mission that he was commanding, and Giffords flew to Florida to attend the May 16 launch.
"Gabby gives her all to everything she does and that's exactly what she's been doing at TIRR since January 26," Kelly said in the release. "The remarkable progress she has made since then is a testament to both her single-minded determination to get better and the team of medical professionals overseeing her care."
On Sunday, photos taken of Giffords on May 17, a day after the shuttle launch, were published to her Facebook page. The photos, taken a day before she underwent surgery to replace a portion of her skull that had been removed to relieve the pressure of swelling on her brain, show the congresswoman relaxed and smiling, with eyeglasses and short hair.
A spokesman told CNN after the photos were released that Giffords' verbal skills, physical strength and cognitive abilities were improving all the time, but he cautioned that the congresswoman still had many challenges ahead.
Jared Lee Loughner, 22, is charged in the shooting. A federal judge ruled last month that he is not competent to stand trial, based on the results of court-ordered medical evaluations. The U.S. attorney general will take custody of Loughner for a period not to exceed four months, during which he will be taken to a hospital for further evaluation to determine if he will become competent to stand trial.
The first photographs of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since she was shot in the head in January have been made public. Two images were posted on her Facebook page early Sunday, both showing the congresswoman outside and smiling, wearing glasses, with her hair shorn short. One of them shows her sitting with an unidentified woman. The is the first glimpse the public has had of the injured lawmaker since late April, when a blurry photo snapped from far away captured her boarding a plane to Florida to watch her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, prepare for a space flight.
For several months, Giffords has been receiving treatment at a Houston rehabilitation center.
Six people were killed and 13 people were injured on January 8 when a gunman opened fire at a Tucson, Arizona, political event that Giffords was hosting outside a grocery store. Suspect Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the shooting, and a judge has ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial. Prosecutors are working to get that ruling overturned.
Pope Benedict XVI spoke Saturday with the astronauts aboard the international space station, specifically mentioning Cmdr. Mark Kelly's wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is recuperating from recent surgery on her skull.
"I know that Mark and his wife were the victim of a serious attack, and I hope that her health continues to improve," the pope said.
Kelly thanked the pope for mentioning Giffords. The Arizona congresswoman was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt.
President Obama will address the nation on U.S. policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and CNN.com Live will carry his remarks when they happen.
8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony trial - Jury selection in Anthony's trial ended abruptly Wednesday, and speculation is growing as to why. Court is scheduled to resume this morning.
A plane believed to be carrying U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords departed Houston on Wednesday morning. Giffords is scheduled to attend the Friday launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by her husband, Mark Kelly, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Her staffers put a picture taken from the plane on Twitter, saying she "is looking forward to some time away" from TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
Kelly and Endeavour’s five other crew members arrived at the center’s shuttle landing facility on Wednesday afternoon in T-38 training jets, two days ahead of the shuttle's launch. Giffords, his wife, has been recovering from a January gunshot to the brain but was cleared by doctors to attend Friday's liftoff.
Endeavour commander: Giffords 'more than medically ready' to see launch
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has worked hard in her rehabilitation to ensure she could see her husband command the final launch of space shuttle Endeavour, he said at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday.
Astronaut Mark Kelly and Endeavour’s five other crew members arrived at the center’s shuttle landing facility on Wednesday afternoon in T-38 training jets, two days ahead of the shuttle's launch. Giffords, his wife, has been recovering from a January gunshot to the brain but was cleared by doctors to attend Friday's liftoff.
Flanked by his crew upon arrival Wednesday, Kelly said he was looking forward to Giffords "getting here pretty soon."
"It's something she's been looking forward to for a long time," Kelly said. "She's been working really hard to make sure that her doctors would permit her to come, and she's more than medically ready to be here, and she's excited about making this trip."
The Florida congresswoman will be named chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, replacing Tim Kaine, who is running for the Senate from Virginia. Two women have previously been the chairs of the DNC: Jean Westwood in 1972 and Debra DeLee in 1994 and 1995. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has risen in the ranks of the Democratic Party since she took office in 2005. The congresswoman is a breast cancer survivor and the mother of three children. Many Americans may recognize her as one of the friends present at the hospital when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords first opened her eyes after being shot in January.
The former Pennsylvania congressman has arrived in Libya to meet with Moammar Gadhafi. Weldon wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece, "I've met him enough times to know that it will be very hard to simply bomb him into submission." Weldon wrote that he's going on the invitation of Gadhafi's chief of staff and called for an immediate U.N.-monitored cease-fire, "with the Libyan army withdrawing from contested cities and rebel forces ending attempts to advance."
The Warren, Michigan, native found a kidney donor for her husband on Facebook. Though an infrequent user of the popular social networking site, Kurze wrote a post lamenting her husband's deteriorating condition, according to the Detroit News. She wrote, "I wish a kidney would fall out the sky," and "If someone knows a living type O donor, let me know." Not long after, Ricky Cisco replied, offering up his kidney.
The 10-year-old from Pittsburgh gave the Super Bowl ring he bought with his college savings for $8,500 back to retired Chicago Bears player William "The Refrigerator" Perry. Perry had to sell the ring several years ago after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and falling on hard times. Forrest wanted to buy the ring and give it back to Perry, and the avid sports memorabilia collector told ESPN on Monday, "When I Googled Mr. Perry after I got the ring, I saw he had the disease and went through rough times. And I thought he needed it more than I did."
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