U.S. Navy names ship for former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The United States Navy christened a combat ship named after former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

The littoral combat ship was named in Giffords’ honor during a ceremony on Saturday at Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Giffords was shot in the head by a lone gunman in a Tucson, Ariz., parking lot in January 2011 during a constituents’ event. Six people were killed in the shooting, including a 9-year-old girl.

The first Jewish woman elected to statewide office in Arizona, Giffords stepped down from her congressional seat after the shooting in order to recover. Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, founded an organization that lobbies in support of  gun control.

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A bottle of sparkling wine was broken across the bow of the ship by Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

“The christening of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords marks the beginning of what is certain to be a long life for this great ship,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “It is also a celebration of the skill and dedication of the men and women who have built LCS 10 and the courage of her namesake. This ship truly embodies the Navy motto of Semper Fortis – Always Courageous.”

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