Major Milestone: Giffords Moves Arms, Legs

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Doctors announced on Thursday that Rep.  Gabrielle Giffords, R-Ariz., is continuing to show remarkable signs of progress in her recovery from a gunshot wound to the head.

In what her physicians have called a "major milestone," Giffords has opened both eyes and has moved her arms and legs.  She has also responded to family and friends.

"A lot of medicine is outside our control, and we're wise to acknowledge miracles," said Dr. Michael Lemole, chief of neurosurgery at the University of Arizona Department of Surgery.

Doctors reportedly could remove the lawmaker's breathing tube on Friday.

Thursday's breakthrough was the latest in a number of encouraging signs in Giffords' recovery.  On Wednesday, the congresswoman opened her eyes for the first time - a feat her husband and two of her closest colleagues were present to witness.

"She just started to open her eyes, just a slit.  And nobody could believe it.  We were just stunned," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., recalled.

"To us it was just an instant that showed her strength, her courage, her indomitable spirit," Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand, D- N.Y., said. "Everything that we love about Gabby was all there at that moment."

Break in the Case?

As Giffords' health continues to progress, Pima County, Ariz., sheriff's deputies have uncovered more details about Saturday's shooting and the alleged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, 22.

Investigators may have made a new break in the case.  A young man walking near the Loughner house found a black bag. The description is similar to a bag Loughner's father saw him carrying just hours before the shooting.

"He's telling us that in the bag is what appears to be ammunition and some items from what he described to us as from a local Walmart," said R.J. Kastigar, the bureau chief at the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Victims Laid to Rest
    
Meanwhile, 2,000 people paused on Thursday to honor the youngest shooting victim, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green.

"She would want to say to us today, 'Enjoy life,'" said Bishop Gerald Kicanas, who presided over the funeral. "She would want to say to us today, 'God has loved me so much. He has put his hand on me and prepared a place for me.'"

"Her time to be born was Sept. 11, 2001," he said. "Her time to die was the tragic day, Jan. 8, 2011.  Just nine years old she was. But she has found her dwelling place in God's mansion. She went home."

Another victim of Saturday's shooting, U.S. District Judge John Roll, will be laid to rest on Friday.

The attack has stalled work in Congress, but members were expected to get back to work next week with the health care debate scheduled to begin.

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.