Gabrielle Giffords to Attend Husband’s Space Shuttle “Endeavor” Launch

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Gabrielle Giffords, the 40-year-old Congresswoman from Arizona is doing well. She is recovering after being shot in the head during an assassination attempt in January that left six dead, including federal Judge John Roll and nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, and thirteen more injured. Since the attack, Giffords has been recovering steadily at Houston’s TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital and The Arizona Republic has reported that Giffords can stand on her own and is working on walking. She can also communicate with short phrases like “love you,” “awesome” and “I miss Tucson.”

The most recent development in a series of good news for the Congresswoman is that she has been given the okay from her doctors to attend Friday’s launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, which will be captained by her husband Mark Kelly. Kelly confirmed the announcement in a recent interview with “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric. Kelly said that his wife responded to the news positively, “I think she said, ‘Awesome,’ and she pumped her fist.” Gifford will be watching the launch from a private viewing area on Friday and will be joined by her family, staff, as well as President Obama and his family.

Kelly and the crew of the Endeavor will wear blue ribbons in honor of the Congresswoman, and Kelly plans on reading a letter from his wife once the shuttle enters space.  They will also wake up to a song of Giffords’ choice; in 2006 she selected her favorite song, U2’s “Beautiful Day” for the crew.

Incidentally, doctors are supposedly using the same song  to facilitate Giffords’ recovery. As Katie Couric reported, “She goes through speech rehabilitation, music; she likes to listen to U2. ‘It’s a Beautiful Day’ is one of her favorite songs, so I think that gets her fired up. And apparently, it also fires up the brain’s ability to recognize words and kind of emotional centers.”

Giffords was also recently honored with a spot in the 2011 Time 100 list. The magazine cites her as exemplifying “the healing power of determination and courage.” President Obama authored the statement for Giffords’ Time feature, and praises the congresswoman, saying “- the reason she has long been admired by people of all political stripes is that she embodies the best of what public service should be: hard work and fair play, hope and resilience, a willingness to listen and a determination to do your best in a busy world.”

Concluding with, “- she’s got the prayers of a nation rooting for her, a model of civility and courage and unity — a needed voice that cannot return soon enough.”

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