At Tuesday night's TIME 100 gala in New York City, former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband toasted the 9-year-old girl she came so close to meeting on Jan. 8, 2011.

In a public toast at the event honoring the magazine's 2013 most influential people in the world, Giffords' husband Mark Kelly said he thinks about Christina-Taylor Green every day, as does his wife.

"It's amazing to think you can miss somebody that you've never met," Kelly said, as Giffords stood beside him. "We treasure the stories of the joy she took in life."

He called her tough and adventurous, and quoted Christina-Taylor's mother, Roxanna, who describes her daughter as someone who was very aware of the world, of other people's needs and of the importance of community.

Kelly said the country is at the beginning of a, "difficult but critical conversation about gun violence and how it shatters families."

Christina-Taylor was the youngest of the six people who died in the Tucson shooting. Giffords and 12 others were injured.

Giffords was on this year's  TIME 100 list, along with leaders and icons like Barack Obama, Elena Kagan, Daniel Day-Lewis, Lena Dunham and Kate Middleton. She was on the 2011 list as well.

The TIME tribute to Giffords was written by Jim Brady, the former press secretary for Ronald Reagan who was paralyzed in an assassination attempt on Reagan.

Giffords and Brady have something else in common: members of the media prematurely declared both of them dead.

In his tribute, Brady called Giffords a "lovely spokeswoman" for the anti-gun violence movement.

"This issue is unlike all others, as it takes those very qualities to fight the large gun lobby with its unending source of revenue," he wrote. "It is indeed David vs. Goliath. Gabby has all the qualities it takes, along with the extraordinary commitment, to show us what a David she is."