Physicians: Wounded US Congresswoman Makes ‘Major’ Progress

Physicians treating U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords say the critically wounded Arizona lawmaker has made major progress, opening her eyes and moving her arms and legs.Giffords’ neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Lemole, said she is able to follow simple commands and is becoming increasingly aware of her surroundings and responsive to friends and family. He called it a major milestone.Giffords was shot in the head Saturday while holding a public event outside a grocery store in the city of Tucson. Six people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the event.Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma chief at the University Medical Center in Tuscon, Arizona, where Giffords is being treated, said the next milestone for Giffords will be removing her breathing tube.Funerals are being held Thursday for federal Judge John Roll, who was killed in the shooting, and the youngest victim, a 9-year-old girl.

At a memorial service Wednesday, President Obama invoked the memory of the child, Christina Taylor Green, as he urged Americans to use the tragedy as a time to set aside political differences.  In an emotional speech, the president said he wants the nation’s democracy to be “as good as she imagined it.”Green was born on another tragic day for the nation, September 11, 2001. The largest American flag to survive the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center that day was brought to her service to honor her.Twenty-two-year-old Jared Loughner is accused of carrying out the attack. Police and media reports depict Loughner as a mentally unstable young man, who became increasingly unhinged in recent years.He is charged with several counts, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress.  If convicted he could get life in prison or the death penalty.Investigators found handwritten notes at Loughner’s home with Giffords’ name, the words “I planned ahead” and “My assassination.”  Some of the writings were scrawled on a letter Giffords’ office sent to the suspect in 2007 after he attended one of her political events – Voanews