For just a few, albeit brief, moments on Thursday evening, Democrats and Republicans put partisan politics aside as Gabrielle Giffords recited the Pledge of Allegiance before the Democratic convention on the final night of festivities. The emotional moment brought tears to audience members' eyes, as Giffords recited the Pledge of Allegiance in slightly slower than usual speech.
Former Arizona congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head in January 2011 in Arizona, in a shooting rampage by Jared Lee Loughner which left six people dead and another 12 wounded. The incident sparked a national conversation about gun control, the death penalty (which he ultimately did not receive), and about the partisan state of American politics.
Giffords was a different kind of politician, one of the few remaining Congress people who believes in civility and reaching across the aisle to overcome our partisan politics.
Unfortunately, the shooting caused significant damage to Giffords' mental functioning, and although she has made a steady and impressive recovery, forced her to resign from her post in Congress about nine months ago.
Since, Giffords has spent time undergoing physical therapy in Arizona and, along with her husband Mark Kelly, forming a political action committee, Gabby PAC, to promote Democrats.
Giffords' pledge of allegiance drew praise, and tears, from both Republicans and Democrats. On Twitter, political enthusiasts and journalists gushed that her appearance brought a brief respite to the political campaigning and served as an emotional interlude to the Convention. Take a look at how Giffords' appearance played on Twitter: