Gabrielle Giffords Makes First Public Appearance

Erik Hayden
Gabrielle Giffords Makes First Public Appearance

On Monday, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made her first public appearance at an event since January's shootings in Tuscon, Arizona on January 8th. At an awards ceremony at Space Center Houston for her soon-to-be retired husband's NASA crew, she smiled, waved and rose to receive a standing ovation from the crowd. As ABC News reports:

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 [husband Mark] 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.

Earlier this month, Giffords was released from a Houston hospital after being deemed by a hospital spokesman to have shown "clear, continuous improvement." She then had a brief weekend homecoming in Tuscon before leaving to her husband's home in League City, Texas. As to the congresswoman's continued recovery, her chief of staff Pia Carusone told ABC News:

"Her words are back more and more now, but she's still using facial expressions as a way to express...But when it comes to a bigger and more complex thought that requires words, that's where she's had the trouble."