The US Navy commissioned its newest warship on Saturday in Galveston, Texas, naming the vessel after former Rep Gabrielle Giffords. In 2011, Giffords was shot by Jared Lee Loughner when outside a grocery store in Tucson, AZ. The naming marks the 16th time a ship has been named for a woman and the 13th time one has been named after a living person.
As reported by NBC News, Giffords said she was honored to have the 421-foot-long vessel named for her, asserting that the warship is “strong and tough, just like her crew.”
During the ceremony, Giffords spoke to the crowd, saying, “I thought of you in my darkest days, the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the United States of America,” continuing, “You make me proud. You make America proud.”
The US Navy chose to name the vessel, which will be based in San Diego, after Giffords to recognize her resilience and perseverance after being injured in the shooting.
As reported by the Independent Journal Review, after the ceremony, some people took to social media to question the decision of naming a warship after Giffords based on her advocacy for stricter gun control measures.
The USS Gabrielle Giffords, a Littoral Combat Ship, features multiple mounted guns including a missile launcher and four 50-caliber rifles.