TUCSON, AZ — Today marks the 11th anniversary of the infamous mass shooting in Tucson on January 8, 2011.
“That event is one of the events that really affected this community, everybody in so many ways,” said Arizona Senator Mark Kelly.
Families of the six who were killed joined survivors at the annual memorial service outside the Historic Pima County Court House.
Among them, Senator Kelly, and his wife, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords who was targeted and shot that day.
"On these anniversaries she is both happy and sad,” Kelly said.
Happy but sad is a sentiment shared by former U.S. Representative Ron Barber, who was shot in the leg while standing next to Giffords.
“I have PTSD from the shooting, many people did," Barber said. "I couldn’t sleep at night. I was waking up continuously with flashbacks, seeing Gabby shot, seeing Gabe die.”
Barber says despite his trauma, he will never forget how Tucsonans supported him.
“The response from our community was so healing and so compassionate that we didn’t let that day be who we were,” Barber said.
During the memorial service, Giffords and Barber sat alongside 11 others who survived injuries on January 8.
The sound of gunshots still rang in their memory as a reverend read the names of those killed and injured. This year’s service was the first where those affected by the shooting could walk together through the "Embrace Memorial”.
“It was a horrific day, but I think its also important to see that sometimes some positive things come out of it,” Kelly said.
The January 8th Memorial Foundation finished the "Embrace Memorial" last year. It’s become a space for reflection.