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TODAY exclusive: Gabby Giffords sky-dives to mark shooting anniversary

Jan. 8, 2014 at 1:35 PM ET

Video: NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie was along for the ride as former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords leaped out of a plane to celebrate a landmark moment in her recovery.

Gabby Giffords achieved an important milestone on her road to recovery this week, sky-diving to mark three years since the Tucson, Ariz. shooting that injured her. 

TODAY's Savannah Guthrie joined Giffords on the plane for the jump, tweeting that she stuck the landing:

"Today, Gabby Giffords is going to do something that is incredibly courageous and inspiring and a little bit surprising — she's going to sky-dive here in Arizona to commemorate the three-year anniversary and all of the progress that she’s made," TODAY's Savannah Guthrie said by phone Wednesday morning from Tucson.

"She is an incredibly brave person. She’s someone who used to love to sky-dive before this shooting took place. She hasn’t done it since."

The jump will air in a TODAY exclusive on Thursday. "I will get to watch," Guthrie said. "This is Gabby's moment." 

Vice President Joe Biden called Giffords before her jump to wish her luck. 

The former Arizona congresswoman, who was gravely wounded in a mass shooting in 2011 that killed six and injured 12 others, will also share how she finds the personal strength to continue to triumph over adversity.

Giffords, 43, has been hard at work on her recovery since she resigned from Congress in 2012 following the attack, and she and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, have since been vocal advocates for stricter gun laws. 

Giffords had both Kelly and her mom with her when she made the jump.  

"She’s going to jump with a Navy Seal that she's really formed a friendship with," Guthrie said this morning on TODAY. "This is somebody she’s jumped with before, somebody who was later injured in Afghanistan."

Video: Gabby Giffords will achieve an important milestone on her road to recovery this week, sky-diving to mark the third anniversary of the Tucson, Ariz. shooting that injured her. Savannah Guthrie will join her for the major leap on Wednesday. The jump will air in a TODAY exclusive on Thursday.



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