Whip Hoyer Honors the Service of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

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"None of us on this Floor are talented enough to summon the rhetoric that all of us feel in our hearts. We have young men and women, arrayed on the fields in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other troubled spots in the world. They are fighting for freedom and democracy and too many of them are injured on those fields. Our beloved colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, was injured on the field in the exercise of that democracy and in being injured; she has become an example for us, for all Americans, indeed all the world of courage, of clarity, of purpose, of grace, of responsibility, of a sense of duty which she exercises this day.

"I love Gabby Giffords. I was honored when she first ran for office before she was elected, to go to her district, as I have done for so many others in this country, to stand by her side, to walk down the streets of her community with her, to see and hear the beauty not only of person, many of us see the outward visage of us all. But Gabby's beauty is in the heart, in the soul, in the spirit. The House of Representatives of America has been made proud by this extraordinary daughter of this House, who served so well during her tenure here, who felt so deeply about her constituents and cared so much for her country. Gabby, we love you. We have missed you. Mr. Speaker, I don't know whether you were able to hear that response. As Gabby looked with that extraordinary smile, the twinkle in her eyes, as she said to me and to all of us, "and I miss you." Do any of us doubt that that is the case?

"Pia, we are blessed in this House to be served by extraordinary people, of which you are a perfect example. Of people who love us, but love their country even more, who serve our constituents so extraordinarily well, who evidence every day care for us and care for the work that we do, which we could not do, Pia, without people like yourself and all of your colleagues that we call staff.

"Thank you. Mr. Speaker, God has blessed Gabrielle Giffords and he has sent a blessing to all of us in the person of Gabrielle Giffords. And God bless Gabby as well with an extraordinary mom and dad and an extraordinary partner in life. Mark, we owe you a debt of gratitude. Our country owes you a debt of gratitude. I look forward to the day when you and Gabby will be returning here, return to full health and full ability to serve. Gabby, America thanks you. it thanks you for the example that you have given of overcoming adversity and doing so with a spirit unparalleled. God bless you and God speed."