Nightly News | August 02, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally tonight, back on January 8th we arrived in Tucson , Arizona , to find a community in shock after a shooting. They were mourning the dead, caring for the wounded, and many didn't think their congresswoman was going to make it. Boy, did she ever make it. Gabby Giffords has fought to come back, and that fight brought her to the House floor last night to thunderous applause. And all we could think of was the resilient community of Tucson , Arizona ; where, as NBC 's Lee Cowan reports, they were cheering her on every step of the way.
LEE COWAN reporting: It was once considered wishful thinking that this day would come. That it came so early was to some miraculous, but that's a word that's become synonymous with Congresswoman Gabby Giffords .
Representative NANCY PELOSI: Thank you, Gabby , for joining us.
COWAN: It's been seven short months since an assassin's bullet tore through her head, and her district hasn't had a voice since.
Unidentified Man #1: Congresswoman Giffords ' office.
COWAN: And for her staff -- like Ron Barber , who was shot twice that day -- last night was astounding for a whole other reason.
Mr. RON BARBER: She's an inspiration to the country, and at least for a brief second we can come together with that kind of spirit.
COWAN: At the scene of the shooting, most agreed that Gabby 's quiet determination said more about the good kind of politics than all the debt ceiling speeches combined.
Unidentified Man #2: Yeah, I cried. Yeah, sure. Because she's a rock, you know?
Ms. LOUISE BROCKWAY (Tucson Resident): I think she epitomizes getting along in the political world. And so it was a perfect environment for her to do that.
COWAN: At the Tucson hospital, once buried in a sea of candles and flowers, doctors never doubted her resolve. But they, too, were shocked.
Dr. RAINER GRUESSNER (Chief of Surgery, University Medical Center): At the end there is light at the tunnel, and yesterday we saw the light.
COWAN: Even her high school history teacher watched her return, looking so different and yet to him, so very much the same.
Mr. JOHN HOSMER (Giffords' High School Teacher): Oh, that was so emotional. I mean, you know, just standing there thinking, ' Good for you , Gabby .'
COWAN: No one here has forgotten the six people who were killed or the 12 other people who were wounded, but it's what Gabby Giffords inspired in those people that Tucson wants to be remembered for, not the crime itself. Sometimes a wave is just a wave. But on this night, it was a gesture that moved the world. Lee Cowan, NBC News, Tucson .