I'm sure everyone involved wishes that Rep. Giffords would have earned this honor under different circumstances and maybe next year she will, but who else could the Arizona Republic choose as "Arizonan of the Year"?
Giffords has made amazing progress since the shooting. Miraculous, some say. She continues her recovery in the face of the unknown. How much? How far? How complete?
Her seemingly charmed life as the beautiful, accomplished congresswoman with the astronaut husband has become a struggle to fully recover the power of language, which had been among her special gifts. A politician fighting for words. The Energizer Bunny learning to walk again, slowly, with that loving husband at her side. Nobody doubts she'll keep going.
If they make another movie called "True Grit," it ought to be about Gabby Giffords.
And if Arizona takes a collective lesson from her story — beyond the obvious one about the power of love and the human spirit — it ought to be that real courage is about ignoring odds, believing in yourself and daring to trust that hard work will pay off in the future.
Gabrielle Giffords is an example of that kind of strength and resilience, and a model for Arizona. She's the Arizonan of 2011.