The video: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has announced in a moving YouTube video that she will resign her House seat this week so she can focus on recovering from a near-fatal gunshot wound to the head. Giffords was one of 19 people shot — six were killed — at a constituent meet-up in Tucson last January. "I don't remember much from that horrible day," Giffords says in a halting voice (watch the clip below), "but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice." The widely admired Arizonan, almost certain to win re-election in November had she chosen to run, will formally step down after attending President Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, triggering a special election this summer. Giffords, 41, suggests that she will run for public office again. "I'm getting better," she says. "Every day my spirit is high. I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."
The reaction: Giffords' name will always be tied to the tragic shooting, to her "astonishing" but still-incomplete recovery, and to "one of the most memorable announcements of a congressional resignation" ever, says Frank James at NPR. Indeed, this heartwrenching video may well spur "tears of sadness and anger" that Giffords was "robbed so cruelly of her life's work," says Libby Spencer at The Impolitic. So "fair warning: Grab some Kleenex before you watch." It's so "bittersweet to see Giffords hit the 'pause' button on her political career," says Maressa Brown at The Stir. "Good for her for doing what's best for herself," and for her Arizona constituents. But Washington will be the worse off in this brave woman's absence. See for yourself: