Giffords awards medal to astronaut husband

October 7, 2011 00:28


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WASHINGTON - US Representative Gabrielle Giffords gave her astronaut husband a medal at his retirement ceremony on Thursday and got a warm welcome on her second visit to Washington since a gunman shot her in January.

Giffords, who is recovering from a bullet wound to the head, smiled, blew kisses and waved to a small gathering of friends, relatives and fellow members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, during the ceremony at a government building next to the White House.

Vice President Joe Biden and Giffords awarded her husband, Naval Captain Mark Kelly, two medals to honor his 25 years of service with the Navy and NASA.

"It's not everyday that you encounter examples of sheer, sheer courage, selflessness and dedication like you see in this couple," Biden said after awarding Kelly the Legion of Merit.

Kelly flew 39 missions during the Gulf War and made four trips into space, including commanding the last mission of the shuttle Endeavour.

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