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Expressing Sense of House Regarding Arizona Shooting

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and extend my condolences to him, Mr. Pastor, the senior member of the Arizona delegation, and to all of the members of the Arizona delegation.

Madam Speaker, I am saddened, greatly saddened, to join the Speaker of the House, Mr. Boehner, in coming together in sadness today to share our prayers and indeed our hopes for those who have lost so much because of the tragedy in Arizona involving our colleague, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, her staff, and innocent bystanders.

Words are inadequate at a time like this, but I hope it is a comfort to those who have lost loved ones or who were injured on Saturday that so many people mourn the losses but also pray for the survivors and care for them at this very difficult time.

I think the resolution in its description of what happened and the context with which it happened is an excellent resolution; and I hope people will read it, pray over it, and be grateful that we have this opportunity to comment on it.

Today, we will say many prayers for our country and for the victims of this horrific event. We think of our colleague, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, fighting to recover, and the 14 others who were injured and remember the six who were killed. Their names are mentioned, and they are described in the resolution. The Speaker has mentioned their names, but I think acknowledging them bears repetition.

How do you explain the death of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green who had recently been elected to the student council in her school, Mesa Verde Elementary School, and the unbearable grief of John and Roxanna Green? Again, we pray for them and will carry Christina as an inspiration in our hearts.

Dorothy Morris was married for more than 50 years to her high school sweetheart and was the mother of two.

Federal Judge John Roll had just come from mass, which he attended every day.

Phyllis Schneck, mother of three, grandmother of seven, and a great-grandmother. And I know that the New Yorkers like to hear she was a Giants fan, snowbird in Arizona carrying that dedication west.

Dorwan Stoddard died shielding his wife, Mavy. Shielding his wife, Mavy.

And as has been mentioned in the resolution, and we have mourned, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' director of community outreach, Gabriel Matthew Zimmerman. One of his colleagues, his coworker, said: ``Gabe helped people for a living.''

As we honor the heroes who risked their lives to protect others, among them some who were injured, Patricia Maisch, for one, who grabbed the full magazine of ammunition from the killer as he attempted to reload. Just think of how many more we could have lost.

Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zimudio tackled and subdued the suspect. Imagine the courage.

And Daniel Hernandez, Jr., 20 years old--an intern who had just been on the job for 4 days. When he heard gunshots, he ran toward them--he ran toward them--and attended to Congresswoman Giffords, helping to staunch her bleeding with his own hands.

We pray for the recovery of other members of Congresswoman Giffords' staff--Ron Barber, Pam Simon. We commend Pia Carusone and the entire GIFFORDS staff for carrying on.

Those heroes at the scene were joined by first responders from county and municipalities, arriving just 3 minutes after the first 911 call, who performed excellently, and in doing so, saved lives. We also pay tribute to the skilled professionals at Arizona's University Medical Center, whose role is ongoing in healing the victims of this tragedy.

Tonight, the University of Arizona community joins with Tucson, the State of Arizona and, indeed, the entire Nation to acknowledge together Saturday's tragedy. Appropriately, this remembrance is called ``Together we thrive: Tucson and America.''

``Together we thrive: Tucson and America'' will be an opportunity to grieve, and it will be a demonstration of our strength: a strength in community--a strength in community that was demonstrated last Saturday, a strength in community there that is ongoing. Tucson demonstrated its strength on Saturday when the city was full of heroes--ordinary citizens, victims, first responders--coming together in the spirit of community.

Madam Speaker, our colleague Congresswoman Giffords was the primary target of this cowardly act; and as she recovers, we honor her as a brilliant and courageous Member of Congress. She has brought to Congress an invigoration--the thinking of a new generation of national leaders. As a businesswoman and State legislator, she came to Congress full of ideas, and we will long continue to be blessed by them. I look forward to when she is present with us on the floor. She has spoken out courageously and led boldly when the times have demanded it.

It is especially tragic that those who lost their lives and those who were wounded had come together, as the resolution presents, to participate in an activity that reflects the best of our democratic tradition--a Representative of the people, of GABBY GIFFORDS and her staff hearing directly from the men and women she represents.

American democracy is founded on our commitment to a contest of ideas, not violence. Political disagreement and dissent must never violate our Nation's values, as expressed in the Constitution, of free expression, speech and peaceful assembly. GABBY spoke to that right here from the floor last week.

In this hour of anguish, we seek a renewed commitment to hope, to civility, to peace among the American people. In many of our churches, we sing on Sunday and on other days of the week: let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin, not just with us but with me--with each of us, within each of us.

In speaking as one House today, coming together in peace, we offer our thoughts and support, our prayers for the health of our colleague, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and for all of the injured. We share the stories of the heroes of this tragedy and mourn those who perished. Let their actions and their memories be a blessing to our country.

We don't know why God saw this to be necessary, but let this be something that we cherish as an opportunity as we mourn the heartbreaking horror of it all. This resolution is a fitting tribute. It is a great resolution. Please read it again and again. Carry those names in your heart. Remember each of these people because, again, a tragic accident took lives and wounded people in the free expression of ideas. May this resolution remind us of the urgent need to uphold our democratic values, to treat one another with courtesy and with respect, and to act as Congresswoman Giffords has always done and always will do--in a manner that reflects the best of American leadership.

As our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of all who were affected, I want to call special attention to Commander, Navy Captain Mark Kelly, GABBY's husband, who has been a source of strength to all of us in this difficult time. We pray for him. We thank him for his and GABBY's service to our country. God truly blessed America with their leadership, with their service, and with their love for each other.


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