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Gabrielle Giffords is greeted by her colleagues at the State of the Union address

Larry Downing / Reuters

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a shooting spree in Tucson, Ariz., in January, 2011, throws a kiss as she stands with Rep. Jeff Flake, left, as they await President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 24, 2012.

Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

President Barack Obama hugs retiring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as the president arrives to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night.

One day before her retirement from the House of Representatives, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made an emotional appearance at President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Giffords, who was shot in the head a little more than at year ago during a community meeting in Tucson, Ariz., received a warm welcome when she walked into the room.

 

Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images

From the debt ceiling debacle to the death of Osama bin Laden, it was an eventful year in office for the nation's 44th president.

Saul Loeb / EPA

A look at the Arizona lawmaker's rise to prominence — from high school to Capitol Hill.