WASHINGTON — In January 2012, Representative Gabrielle Giffords , Democrat of Arizona, decided to resign her seat , a sad coda to the assassination attempt she had miraculously survived, but which left her badly disabled.
On that day, Ms. Giffords got a call from Ray Mabus, the secretary of the Navy at the time, who told her the Navy planned to name a warship in her honor. It would be the first Navy warship to be named after a living woman since the cutter Harriet Lane — named after the niece of President James Buchanan — was commissioned in 1857.
Next weekend, the 418-foot Gabrielle Giffords will be commissioned in Galveston, Tex., and prepared for regular duty. A bevy of Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., are expected to attend.
Previously, the ship was officially named at the Pentagon, its keel was laid in Mobile, Ala., and it was christened in June 2015 by Jill Biden, the wife of Mr. Biden. It is the third naval ship named after a living woman, and the 16th for a woman in American history.
“That our Navy chose to give my name to this ship is an incredibly humbling honor — one I would never have imagined, one I will never forget, and one for which I always remain grateful,” Ms. Giffords said. “When we celebrate the commissioning this weekend, I will be thinking of the thousands of hardworking Americans who built this ship and the brave men and women who will serve aboard her.”
The littoral combat ship , armed with missiles, machine guns and fast-firing weapons, is the sort that has come under congressional scrutiny for its expense. Also, some gun rights groups have grumbled that it was named for Ms. Giffords, who became a gun safety advocate along with her husband, the retired astronaut and Navy captain Mark E. Kelly, after the assassination attempt in Tucson.
The commissioning of a Navy ship named after a gun safety advocate — and with Mrs. Clinton at Ms. Giffords’s side — could inflame President Trump, who calls himself a strong supporter of gun rights and has continued his feud with Mrs. Clinton, his onetime rival for the White House.
On Jan. 8, 2011, a week into her third term as a United States representative, Ms. Giffords was shot in the head at close range in a grocery store parking lot during a meeting with constituents. The gunman killed six people and, aside from Ms. Giffords, injured 12 others.
During her congressional career, Ms. Giffords, whose district in southern Arizona featured two major military installations, served on the House Armed Services Committee and had a spouse on active duty. In announcing that the ship would be named after her, Mr. Mabus said it was appropriate that it “be named for someone who has become synonymous with courage, who has inspired the nation with remarkable resiliency and shown the possibilities of the human spirit.”
Inside a box that will be sealed below the mast is the patch […]