"Anniversary" is a word we usually associate with happy events that we like to remember: birthdays, weddings, the first job. March 30, however, marks an anniversary I would just as soon forget, but cannot.


It was on that day 10 years ago that a deranged young man standing among reporters and photographers shot a policeman, a Secret Service agent, my press secretary and me on a Washington sidewalk.


I was lucky. The bullet that hit me bounced off a rib and lodged in my lung, an inch from my heart. It was a very close call. Twice they could not find my pulse. But the bullet's missing my heart, the skill of the doctors and nurses at George Washington University Hospital and the steadfast support of my wife, Nancy, saved my life.


Jim Brady, my press secretary, who was standing next to me, wasn't as lucky. A bullet entered the left side of his forehead, near his eye, and passed through the right side of his brain before it exited. The skills of the George Washington University medical team, plus his amazing determination and the grit and spirit of his wife, Sarah, pulled Jim through. His recovery has been remarkable, but he still lives with physical pain every day and must spend much of his time in a wheelchair.


Thomas Delahanty, a Washington police officer, took a bullet in his neck. It ricocheted off his spinal cord. Nerve damage to his left arm forced his retirement in November 1981.


Tim McCarthy, a Secret Service agent, was shot in the chest and suffered a lacerated liver. He recovered and returned to duty.


Still, four lives were changed forever, and all by a Saturday-night special -- a cheaply made .22 caliber pistol -- purchased in a Dallas pawnshop by a young man with a history of mental disturbance.


This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now -- the Brady bill -- had been law back in 1981. [MORE]


Via Eric Byler