Ariz. Shooting Survivors Thank First Responders

Parking lot ceremony marks six-month anniversary of event


 
 

AMANDA LEE MYERS,Associated Press | | Friday, July 8, 2011


PHOENIX (AP) — Survivors of the Tucson shooting rampage gathered Friday to remember the attack six months ago by thanking those who helped save their lives and remembering those who didn't survive.

A group gathered Friday morning for a brief ceremony in the parking lot of the grocery store where a gunman opened fire Jan. 8, killing six people and wounding 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The ceremony included an emotional moment of silence, and firefighters raised an enormous American flag recovered from the site of the World Trade Center after 9/11.

"People kept asking me if it was hard for me to be there, and of course on one level it was," said Pam Simon, a Giffords' staffer who survived after taking a bullet to the chest and one to the wrist. "But I also thought it was a very fitting way to remember the six-month anniversary."

Simon said her thoughts Friday were of how lucky she is to be alive and of sorrow for those who aren't, including her friend and co-worker Gabe Zimmerman, a Giffords aide who was killed in the shooting.

"Physically, I am very, very blessed. I feel very well," she said. "However, it doesn't take away from the incredible sadness of not being able to see Gabby very often, and missing Gabe tremendously, and sadness for all those who lost loved ones. There is always going to be a big hole."

Simon also attended a second, private ceremony at a Little League field where a new statue honors the shooting's youngest victim, 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. The 9/11 flag was also displayed there. It had been displayed at the January funeral for Christina-Taylor, who was born Sept. 11, 2001.

The ceremony at the statue gave Simon the opportunity to meet the first paramedic who reached her after the attack, and she thanked him for helping save her life.

"That was probably the choke-up moment for me, when he came up and said it was good to see how well I was doing," she said.

Giffords' astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, reflected on the shooting with a Facebook post Friday that said his wife "continues to show strength and resilience."

"She is healing and moving forward. She has not let this tragedy dampen her optimism or love of life," he wrote. "I could not be more proud of her."

Giffords is undergoing outpatient therapy in Houston for a gunshot wound to the head. She was released from the hospital last month and is staying at Kelly's home in League City, a town 26 miles south of Houston. She has visited Tucson once since the shooting to celebrate Father's Day weekend.

The man charged in the shooting, Jared Lee Loughner, has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges. He has been at a Missouri prison facility since a judge declared him mentally incompetent to stand trial May 28. Mental health experts will try to make him psychologically fit.

___

Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at http://twitter.com/.!/AmandaLeeAP



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Tucson shooting

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Three Kentucky Firefighters Injured in Ice Bucket Challenge

Campbellsville tower ladder comes in contact with power lines.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

NAEMT: Transforming EMS

A look inside at the Mobile Healthcare Paramedic system.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Austin-Travis County Community Health Paramedic Program

Overview of program provides operation and referral details.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Flight Paramedic’s Perfect Weekend

Carilion Lifeguard Flight Paramedic shares what would make his perfect weekend.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Colorado Hiker Rescue

Injured hiker spent three hours in a crevice.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Airlift at Swiss Train Derailment

Helicopters used to help reach the injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >