TUCSON, Ariz.--As President Obama heads here today to lead a memorial service for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting, the city is showing signs of healing and reclaiming its trademark spunk and personality--and the state seems to be following suit, as well.
The continued recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., from a gunshot to the head is being greeted as both miraculous and a tribute to her bravery, typified by David Fitzsimmons' editorial cartoon in the Arizona Daily Star today. The cartoon depicts a man and woman in front of a movie theater showing "True Grit."
"I understand it's about Congresswoman Giffords," says the man.
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It's fitting that the University of Arizona is hosting the service, as it has long been the center of this relatively young city. The state's first land grant college, its founding came 31 years after the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 and 27 years before Arizona became a state.
Classes at the university were canceled today, and Sun Tran, which operates the local bus system, is providing free shuttles to the event, much like during Wildcat football games, when the city essentially shuts down to cheer on the team. The anticipated overflow crowd at the McKale Center, which has a capacity of 14,545, will be nothing new. Students for decades have had to enter a lottery to score season tickets to Wildcats basketball games. The overflow will be directed to the adjacent football stadium, which holds 57,000. People around town began lining up for the event early today.