[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Air Force One, on which former Hudson resident and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand accompanied the president to an Arizona service in the wake of the January 8 shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and others in Tuscon, AZ."]
[/caption]With all the news about President Obama's healing speech in Tuscon yesterday, which even conservative pundits appear to be praising -- at least for now -- it turns out that our region's own former Congressman and current U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
made the trip to Arizona with the first couple, on Air Force One. She and other congressional members, a press release noted, traveled to the University of Arizona Medical Center to visit with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ husband, staff, and other victims and their loved ones before attending the mass service on the University of Arizona campus. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said that only in moments of darkness, can we see the stars. I hope in this time of sadness and loss, we can find new strength to come together as a nation and foster greater respect for one another," Gillibrand said in a press release. "We may never make any sense of this heinous crime, but I remember how Gabby so often urged people to stand up to the violent language that divides us, and focus on solutions. That is exactly what we need to do right now. I want to thank President Obama for his compassionate leadership at this time of great national tragedy. My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of this horrible tragedy, their loved ones, and with all Americans as we struggle to move forward together.” Gillibrand later told CNN's Anderson Cooper this, via WIVB
"Sen. Gillibrand said, 'We were talking about all the things we wanted to do as soon as she got better, and all the things we hoped to do with her, and we knew she was responding and was holding our hands, and caressing our hands and squeezing them, and moving her arms, moving her legs, and the most amazing thing about it, she started opening her eyes. And when her husband saw her making this effort, he urged her and said, "Gabby, open your eyes, open your eyes." And sure enough, she did.'"