Tucson Remembers January 8

Bells toll at St. Augustine Cathedral in downtown Tucson at the exact minute that shots ran out at a crosstown Safeway during a “Congress on Your Corner” event one year ago, severely injuring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and several in attendance, and killing six, including staffer Gabe Zimmerman, 9-year-old Christina Green and Chief Judge John Roll.

Throughout Tucson on January 8, 2012 bells tolled to remember those killed and wounded that day by alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner.

The impromptu memorial that sprang up at Tucson's University Medical Center in the days following the January 8 shooting.

The impromptu memorial that sprang up at Tucson's University Medical Center in the days following the January 8 shooting.

The shooting was a great tragedy, but also an occasion of heroism. Were it not for a few brave souls, Loughner would undoubtedly have continued shooting more people that day.

In the aftermath of January 8, our city pulled together in a daily vigil at University Medical Center where congresswoman Giffords recovered from the head wounds she received in the shooting. A growing shrine of flowers and teddy bears, balloons, votive candles, photos and remembrances flooded the grass near the entrance to the hospital.

When President Obama came to Tucson for a healing ceremony on the University of Arizona campus, there were tears and there was laughter. Pundits from other parts considered the laughter to be bizarre. But they don’t live in Tucson. They don’t understand this city’s vibrant soul.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords a year before the shooting, celebrating the 100th birthday of Tucson fashion legend Cele Peterson.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords a year before the shooting, celebrating the 100th birthday of Tucson fashion legend Cele Peterson.

A year later Congresswoman Giffords is still with us, working every day to get back to where she was before January 8, 2011, and returning to her  community to remember those who died, those who were wounded and the rest of us who are still healing from that impossible day.

There were no huge crowds this afternoon at University Medical Center. Just one or two people at a time, looking at the half-dozen or so large photos set up on the grass. The chilly wind blew one of the photos over. But while it was not the gathering place it had been last year, it stilled had about it a sense of hallowed ground.

University Medical Center one year after the January 8 shooting.

University Medical Center one year after the January 8 shooting.

Tonight the masses will converge on the University of Arizona campus to join Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, as they remember that fateful day.

ALL PHOTOS AND VIDEO BY DANIEL BUCKLEY. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

~ by Daniel Buckley on January 8, 2012.

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