(JTA) — The U.S. Navy christened a combat ship named after former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.
Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, broke a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the naming ceremony Saturday at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.
Giffords stepped down from her congressional seat in January 2012 to recover from being shot in the head a year earlier at a political event in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed in the shooting by a lone gunman, including a 9-year-old girl.
She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, founded an organization that lobbies in support of gun control. Giffords was the first Jewish woman elected to statewide office in Arizona.
“The christening of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords marks the beginning of what is certain to be a long life for this great ship,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “It is also a celebration of the skill and dedication of the men and women who have built LCS 10 and the courage of her namesake. This ship truly embodies the Navy motto of Semper Fortis — Always Courageous.”