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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Appears, Stands Before Houston Crowd

P.K. Weis/Giffords Campaign - P.K. Weis via Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Monday made her first public appearance in front of a crowd since being shot in the head Jan. 8, rising from her wheelchair to hug and kiss her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, when he received the Spaceflight Medal.

Giffords, D-Ariz., entered, being pushed in a wheelchair, to a standing ovation from a crowd of hundreds at the awards ceremony auditorium at Space Center Houston, which is next to the Johnson Space Center.

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 Kelly held hands for most of the event. She appeared to chat with people sitting around her, and laughed when the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's last mission was introduced. Kelly commanded the mission, STS-134.

Giffords left during home movies of the crew, shown during the event.

The Spaceflight Medal is awarded to shuttle astronauts who return safely from their missions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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