Gabrielle Giffords Makes First Public Appearance Since Tucson Shooting

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P.K. Weis / AP / southwestphotobank.com

In this May 17, 2011 file photo, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is seen at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords appeared in public on Monday evening for the first time since being shot in the head in January.

Appearing in a wheelchair at an awards ceremony at Space Center Houston, Giffords reportedly stood up briefly to hug and kiss her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly upon his receiving a Spaceflight Medal. Although no cameras were allowed at the event, reports indicate that Giffords was smiling and waving at the crowd and was even able to chat with those around her.

(PHOTOS: Mourning the Victims of the Tucson Shooting)

The Arizona congresswoman, who was shot in the head during an event in Tucson on Jan. 8, wore glasses, a light shirt, jeans and sneakers to the awards ceremony. She has undergone an arduous path of recovery that included relearning how to speak and perform facial expressions. Giffords received surgery to replace a piece of her skull on May 18.

Kelly was awarded Monday night for returning home safely after a mission. He retired last Tuesday from his role in NASA and the U.S. Navy to spend more time with his wife.

VIDEO: Gabrielle Giffords’ Brain Injury: The Steps to Recovery

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