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Gabby Giffords Statement on Awarding of Presidential Medal of Freedom

Washington, DC — Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords issued the following statement in response to today’s White House announcement that she will receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom on July 7. President Biden will be awarding the first Presidential Medals of Freedom of his administration to the former congresswoman and 16 other individuals in a ceremony at the White House. This tremendous honor comes on the heels of the first bipartisan gun safety legislation to be signed into law in nearly 30 years. The ceremony will take place one week before the nationwide release of Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, a documentary by the filmmakers of RBG that chronicles Gabby’s inspiring recovery story and gun safety advocacy. 

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“I’m so very humbled and honored to receive this award. Since I was shot more than 11 years ago, my personal recovery journey has taught me that it’s not the setback that defines us: it’s how we respond to it. There have been no shortage of setbacks as I relearned how to talk and how to walk, just as there have been no shortage of setbacks in the fight for gun safety that I’ve dedicated my life to. And yet I’ve never lost hope. 

“One of my reasons for hope sits inside the Oval Office today, elected to accomplish the near-impossible task of healing a divided nation. My faith in President Biden has never faltered, and I’m touched beyond words at this acknowledgement of his faith in me. I first ran for office because I wanted to improve my community. I never could have imagined the path my life would take, but public service has always been and will always be my north star. I truly believe that by starting small and taking incremental steps towards progress, we can transform the world around us. 

“On April 7, 2013, when I stood side by side with then-President Obama and then-Vice President Biden in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook and failed gun safety legislation, I knew that despite our shared heartbreak, my friend Joe and I were just getting started. Nearly a decade later, President Biden signed into law the first major gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years. At a time when our country feels more divided than ever, this legislation shows us that Americans can come together to solve some of our most important and pressing problems.  

“It is the honor of a lifetime to receive this award. Mr. President, I am exceedingly grateful for this recognition, and I look forward to persevering with you in this fight.”


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