Wednesday marks the third anniversary of the shooting in Arizona that killed six and injured 13, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and now-Rep. Ron Barber. To commemorate the event, Tucson officials have announced the location for the memorial to the day and its aftermath.
On Monday, Barber, other survivors, victims' families, members of the January 8 Memorial Foundation and others gathered at the old Pima County Courthouse in Tucson, Ariz., to announce that the memorial would be sited at the landmark location.
“This memorial will remind the world of what happened here,” Barber said, according to the Arizona Daily Star. “But more importantly ... what happened afterwards: the kindness, the caring and love that came forward. And you will see that when you look at the archives, it represents Tucson at it’s [sic] very, very best.”
After the shootings at Giffords' Congress on Your Corner event, which left her critically injured and eventually led to her retirement from Congress, the Tucson community rallied around her and the other victims. At a tribute at the University of Arizona's McKale Center where President Barack Obama spoke, many out-of-town media members were shocked to witness a celebratory atmosphere, with crowds cheering on the trauma surgeons who tended to the victims, as well as people like Daniel Hernandez, who administered first aid to Giffords.
It was no somber gathering. For Tucson, a quirky city whose "Old Pueblo" roots stretch back more than a millennium, it was par for the course — a way to grieve unique to its own carefree identity. That essence is apparently what the memorial planners, who are aiming to complete the process in two to three years, have in mind.
The foundation has been collecting and archiving the memorial tribute material that sprung from the event, be it stuffed animals, get-well cards or photos, as well as those that have since arrived on anniversaries and the like.
The shooting resonated on Capitol Hill not just because of the injuries to Giffords and her staffer-turned-successor Barber. Among the dead were Giffords' community outreach director, Gabriel Zimmerman. Last year, Congress named a Capitol Visitor Center conference room in honor of Zimmerman.