"I don't remember much from that horrible day, but I will never forget the trust you placed in me to be your voice," she said in a video posted to her Facebook page over the weekend. "Thank you for your prayers and for giving me time to recover."
Giffords was shot in the head during the attack in Arizona in January 2011. Six people were killed and 14 others were injured.
She returned to the floor of the House of Representatives in August to vote on the debt-ceiling compromise, earning a standing ovation from fellow representatives on both sides of the political aisle.
"Arizona is my home, always will be," she said in her resignation video. "A lot has happened over the past year. We cannot change that. But I know on the issues we fought for we can change things for the better. Jobs, border security, veterans. We can do so much more by working together."
“Gabby has had such a positive impact on our nation," her friend and colleague, Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said in a statement. "Even in announcing her resignation, she reminds us that ‘we can do so much more by working together.’ We will miss Gabby’s spirit in Congress and I will miss working with my friend day-to-day, but I am confident that she will return to public service and we can all work together for America."On Monday, Giffords met with other survivors and witnesses of the January 8, 2011, shooting, including Suzie Heilman, who brought 8-year-old Christina Taylor Green to the original event, Daniel Hernandez, the former intern who saved her life, and Pat Maisch, who grabbed a loaded magazine away from the shooter.
"I thanked her for her service, wished her well, and she just looked beautiful," Maisch said of her meeting with Giffords at the event, which was a billed as the continuation of the "Congress on your Corner" meet-and-greet Giffords was holding when she was shot last year.Though supporters took to Facebook and Twitter to send the Congresswoman messages of hope and healing, Giffords has also been criticized for not being able to properly serve her district.
"We all hope she recovers to the extent that she can but, unfortunately, it's not going to be to a level needed to represent a Congressional district," the LA Times reported one commenter as saying. "She simply cannot endure a campaign or effectively tend to the constituency. Currently a 'staff' is running wild, in her name, doing who know what. But the votes ... we are not represented and that's illegal."
"I do believe there’s a political strategy in play here by the Democrats to exploit if they can as long as possible the situation," Arizona Republican State Senator Frank Antenori told the Daily Caller, "to keep Republicans from actively beginning to campaign." Antenori is expected to run for Giffords' seat in an upcoming special election, the LA Times reported, but has said he would not make an announcement while Giffords was still in office.
Giffords said that she will step down after attending President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech on Tuesday, but hinted that she might run for office again at some point.
"I'm getting better. Every day, my spirit is high," she said. "I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."
Also on Shine:
The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the language of violence