Yesterday, Arizona Congressman Gabrielle Giffords made her first public appearance since the tragic Tuscon shooting earlier this year. Giffords attended a ceremony at the NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas to support her husband astronaut Mark Kelly. Kelly was being honored with the Spaceflight Medal, an award given to astronauts when they return home after completing a mission.
Her hair was much shorter than in previously published photos. She was wearing glasses, a beige scarf, a light shirt, jeans and sneakers. She smiled and waved to the crowd.
Giffords and Kelly held hands for most of the event. She appeared to chat with people sitting around her, and laughed when the crew of STS-134, the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s last mission, was introduced. Kelly commanded the mission.
The Arizona Congresswoman received a standing ovation at the event.
Kelly, who began his career at NASA in 1996, announced last week that he was retiring to help take care of his wife. He will officially leave the agency on October 1st. In a message he posted to Facebook, Kelly wrote:
As life takes unexpected turns we frequently come to a crossroads. I am at this point today. Gabrielle is working hard every day on her mission of recovery. I want to be by her side. Stepping aside from my work in the Navy and at NASA will allow me to be with her and with my two daughters. I love them all very much and there is no doubt that we will move forward together.