World | USA

Arizona marks anniversary of shooting rampage

Politician Giffords was among wounded as six died

  • AP
  • Published: 00:00 January 10, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: EPA
  • Mark Kelly (right), retired Navy captain and astronaut, helps his wife, Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, Gabrielle Giffords, light a candle during a vigil and memorial on Sunday marking the first anniversary of the massacre in Tucson that left six people dead and Giffords wounded.

Tucson: This time, in the supermarket parking lot, there were softly ringing bells breaking the morning silence instead of the terrible sounds of gunfire and sirens.

More bells tolled later on Sunday at Tucson's packed St Augustine Cathedral as the names of the six people killed in the January 8, 2011, shooting rampage were read. Thirteen others were wounded, including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head.

With hugs and tears, southern Arizonans remembered the dead, the shattered lives and those who acted heroically after a gunman opened fire at an outdoor meet-and-greet that stunned the nation and this close-knit community.

The day of remembrance began with the ringing of church bells and hand-held bells throughout the city at 10.11am (1711 GMT), the exact time the gunman shot Giffords in the head and methodically mowed down a line of people waiting to talk to her during a public event outside a Safeway supermarket.

"Even in the midst of this troubling year, the healing, the courage that we have experienced in our community — each one of us can notice how our cups overflow with the blessings of our lives," said Stephanie Aaron, Giffords' rabbi, who recited the 23rd Psalm at an interfaith service at the cathedral on Sunday afternoon.

Relatives of the six dead walked solemnly down the aisle, each carrying a single red rose, placing the flowers in a vase in front of a picture of a heart. The victims included federal judge John Roll, nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, who was born on September 11, 2001, and Giffords' staffer Gabe Zimmerman.

Hundreds of people at the cathedral — including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer — stood and chanted: "We remember, we remember, we remember with grateful hearts." Some closed their eyes while others held each other.

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