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Voices from Tucson 1 year after deadly shooting

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Ron Barber, backdropped by a photo of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, recounts Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 from U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords office in Tucson, Ariz., the day he was shot. Barber, A staffer for Giffords, was shot one year ago while working a Giffords event where a gunman opened fire on Giffords and the crowd. The one-year anniversary of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is Sunday. Arizona is marking the event with a series of events, including community-wide bell-ringing at the moment of the attack, speeches on behalf of the victims, and an evening candlelight vigil that Giffords will attend. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Mark Kelly, former astronaut and husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords:

“Those of us who survived were forever changed by that moment. For the past year, we’ve had new realities to live with, the reality and pain of letting go of the past.

“There’s a reality that life is unpredictable, and that even in the best of times, our cherished friends, the good, the caring, the innocent among us, the closest and dearest people we know, can be taken from us.”

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Dr. Peter Rhee, who treated Giffords at the hospital after she was shot, speaking to Giffords at a candlelight vigil:

“Gabby, the world, including Houston, loves you. But not near as much as Tucson … You made us so proud and happy when just months after your injury, you were in Congress casting your vote … We’re so looking forward to having you back.”

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Serenity Hammrich, 10, speaking about her best friend, Christina-Taylor Green, who was killed:

“She wasn’t afraid of boys or sports or anything. When she made student council, I was so happy for her. She believed it was important to help others to try to make a difference in the school and to put others first.”

“I want everyone to understand that Christina was one in a million. She was my best friend.”

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The Rev. Andrew Ross, speaking about shooting victim and his congregant Phyllis Schneck.

“I remember just shaking and as I shared with my congregation, my immediate response was anger, in fact rage, that someone would once again do this to a member of our flock. And so it’s good for us to be honest and admit it’s not easy remembering this day. We have to be honest about that.”

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Ron Barber, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords staffer who survived two gunshot wounds, speaking about Dorwan Stoddard, who died shielding his wife Mavy from the bullets:

“At 10:11 a.m. the first shots rang out and in 30 seconds, 19 people lay wounded and dying. When Dorwan saw the shooter coming their way, he pushed Mavy to the ground and laid on top of her to protect her … Mavy says that was his final act of love for her.

“As she cradled him she encouraged him to breathe deeply, (and) ‘Help will be here soon.’ She told me she saw a smile on his face as he died in her arms, and she knows that this was a smile of love for her.”

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Daniel Hernandez, Giffords’ former intern who came to her aid after the shooting:

“It’s definitely been a really difficult time for all of us. But this time last year, there was a lot of anger. And now it’s, ‘How can we heal and move forward?’”

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Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who was born and raised in Tucson, speaking at a University of Arizona event to honor those killed, and those who survived:

“You know many of us know the congresswoman as Gabby and it sure stirs in me a great range of emotions to be back here in Tucson. One of them is a sense of pride in her and all of you. And yes, there is a lot of sadness associated on this anniversary, but I also feel a spirit of hope.”

“Although Gabby now struggles with her words at times, we know what she’s trying to say. It’s a simple concept. Words matter, and these days you don’t hear our elected officials using words to bring us together. Too often words are used as weapons.”

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Gail Gardiner, 70, who lives about a mile away from the Safeway where the shooting happened:

“This is my backyard and this is where I want to be and show people that we remember this. It just hits so close to home and so many innocent people’s lives were taken and changed forever.”

“It gave me pause, and to think that we are just another part of all these communities where these tragedies have happened in the United States. There should be no reason for it.”

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Albert Pesqueira, assistant fire chief for the Northwest Fire District in Tucson, one of the first responders to the shooting:

“We’ll never be the same. We’ll never be normal again because of what occurred.”

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Dr. Lattie Coor, former president of Arizona State University, speaking about slain Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman

“(Gabe’s) life was about giving service to others… He was a public servant and social worker and proud of both …He was viewed by many of his colleagues as a constituent whisperer.”

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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