Saying she is "getting better" but needs more time to focus on her recovery from a brain injury caused by an attempted assassination, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced Sunday that she'll resign from Congress this week.
Giffords, 41, an Arizona Democrat, made the announcement in a video (please see below) in which she speaks haltingly, but with a smile about her ordeal since the shooting last January. "I don't remember much from that horrible day," she says to her constituents. " But I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice. Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover."
The montage blends scenes of Arizona landscapes with images from her recovery with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, and from her triumphant return to Capitol Hill last year.
"My spirit is high," she says, vowing that "I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."
In her last days in office, CNN reported that Giffords will attend this Tuesday's State of The Union address by President Barack Obama and complete the "Congress On Your Corner" event outside a supermarket interrupted on January 8, 2011, by gunman Jared Loughner, who is accused of killing six people and wounding 13, including Giffords. She marked the anniversary of the event earlier this month at a vigil in Tuscon.
In a statement, the National Jewish Democratic Council's Chair, Marc R. Stanley and Vice-Chair Marc Winkelman said: "While we have all eagerly hoped for the day that Gabby would rejoin her colleagues on a daily basis on Capitol Hill, it's a sign of how highly she values her constituents and her district that she has made this very difficult decision to step aside."
Loughner, diagnosed with schizophrenia, is being forcibly medicated to allow him to stand trial for six counts of murder, for which he faces the death penalty.