Gabrielle Giffords Makes First Public Appearance

Posted on July 1, 2011

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LAUREN LINDER

On Monday an enthused Representative Gabrielle Giffords reportedly greeted the public for the first time since the January shooting that put her in a Houston rehabilitation center.

According to ABC News, Giffords smiled and waved to an audience of hundreds and received a standing ovation at the NASA awards ceremony. Her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, received a Spaceflight Medal for returning safely from his most recent shuttle mission, which he commanded.

Giffords and Kelly held hands for the majority of the ceremony, and she reportedly stood from her wheelchair to hug and kiss him.

During the event, the congresswoman engaged in conversations with those around her and laughed when Kelly’s crew for the space shuttle Endeavor’s last mission was announced.

Although she attended both her husband’s scheduled and actual space shuttle launch dates, this is Giffords’ first public appearance since the horrific Arizona shooting that killed six and injured 12.

ABC News described Giffords’s hair as much shorter than in photographs posted on her Facebook page two weeks ago. At the ceremony, she wore glasses, a beige scarf, a light shirt, jeans and sneakers.

On Tuesday, June 28, Kelly made a statement on Facebook regarding his decision to retire from NASA and the Navy so that he could spend more time with his wife and family during her recovery.

“As life takes unexpected turns we frequently come to a crossroads,” Kelly said. “I am at this point today. Gabrielle is working hard every day on her mission of recovery. I want to be by her side.”

Giffords’ spokesman told the Houston Chronicle that the congresswoman continues to make great strides in her recovery.

“You have to keep in mind that the congresswoman was just in Tucson for a Father’s Day visit. She met with the staff there and she climbed a flight of 18 stairs,” Karamargin said. “I think it’s no surprise the congresswoman is getting out more and more. She’s showing greater physical strength, greater cognitive abilities, and greater verbal skills, so it’s not a surprise.”

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Posted in: National