The podium was moved offstage for the Pledge of Allegiance. Nothing
obscured the halting steps of Gabby Giffords onto the stage. The former
congresswoman from Arizona nearly died 20 months ago when a gunman opened fire as she met with constituents outside a supermarket. Her recovery to regain speech and function has been long, but Thursday night she walked unassisted onto the stage, sneakers under her black slacks, not needing the protective arm of her good friend, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Giffords' strong recitation of the pledge, as she beamed, brought the crowd to its feet to cheer, and it brought tears to the eyes of two women from the Montana delegation.

"She suffered such violence, and to think that she had the strength and courage to want to come out here just moved me," said Nancy Anderson, who is the vice chair of the delegation.