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Gabrielle Giffords says goodbye to congress

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Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gets a hug from House Cloak Room attendant Ella Terry after she resigned from the House of Representatives on Jan. 25. Giffords resigned from Congress to focus on her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head she received last year from a lone gunman in Arizona.

Saul Loeb / EPA

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

Amid tears, salutes and standing ovations, Representative Gabrielle Giffords submitted her resignation from Congress on Wednesday to focus on her recovery from an assassination attempt in Tucson, Arizona, last year.

In farewell remarks that hinted at a second political career in the future, the Democratic lawmaker said: "I will recover and will return. And we will work together again, for Arizona, and all Americans." Her remarks were read to the House by one of her friends, Democratic Representative Deborah Wasserman-Schultz.

-- Reuters contributed to this blog post

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In an emotional farewell, Giffords' colleagues came together to say goodbye. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports.