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."