Mark Kelly, NASA astronaut and commander of mission STS-134, walks with NASA astronaut Greg Johnson, ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori and other roped party members walk from the Refuge des Cosmiques back to L'Aiguille du Midi near Mont-Blanc in Chamonix July 23.
Denis Balibouse / Reuters
Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, center, stands with her husband Mark Kelly, right, NASA astronaut and commander of mission STS-134, and mountain guide Vincent Lameyre before Kelly and two other astronauts walked from L'Aiguille du Midi to the Refuge des Cosmiques near Mont-Blanc in Chamonix July 23.
Reuters reports: CHAMONIX, France- Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, still recovering from wounds after being shot last year, traveled high up into the French Alps on Monday with her astronaut husband Mark Kelly.
Giffords, who still uses a wheelchair much of the time, was on her first trip outside the United States since she was shot in the head by a gunman in January 2011 as she met local people outside a Tucson supermarket.
She rode the two-stage cable car to a station with spectacular views of Mont Blanc and other peaks in France, Italy and Switzerland. Full story
Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) will resign from Congress this week, she announced in a video message posted Sunday.
Giffords, the victim of a gunshot wound to the head in an attack a year ago in her Arizona district, cited her continued work toward recovery as a reason for stepping down from her seat.
"I have more work to do on my recovery, so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week," she said in a video message posted to YouTube. "I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country."
According to a statement posted on her Congressional website, Giffords will attend Tuesday night's State of the Union address as one of her final acts as a member of Congress before submitting her resignation to Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday. The statement also says Giffords plans to "finish" the Congress on your Corner event where the shooting happened before she leaves office.
"Gabby Giffords embodies the very best of what public service should be. She's universally admired for qualities that transcend party or ideology - a dedication to fairness, a willingness to listen to different ideas, and a tireless commitment to the work of perfecting our union. That's why the people of Arizona chose Gabby - to speak and fight and stand up for them," President Obama said in a statement Sunday evening. "Gabby's cheerful presence will be missed in Washington. But she will remain an inspiration to all whose lives she touched - myself included. And I'm confident that we haven't seen the last of this extraordinary American."
Giffords has enjoyed a remarkable recovery since being shot in that Jan. 8, 2011 incident that left six dead.
Prior to that shooting, she had been considered a rising Democratic star, and had been considering a bid for Senate this fall. During the course of her recovery, she has been absent from Capitol Hill except for a surprise return to vote in August on an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling.
“I salute Congresswoman Giffords for her service, and for the courage and perseverance she has shown in the face of tragedy. She will be missed,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted to the announcement in a statement saying Giffords "has been a true bright star - a dynamic and creative public servant. Gabby's message of bipartisanship and civility is one that all in Washington and the nation should honor and emulate." Pelosi continued, "I join all my colleagues in Congress in thanking Gabby for the honor of calling her colleague and wishing Gabby and Mark great success and happiness. She will be missed in the House of Representatives, but her legacy in the Congress and her leadership for our nation will certainly continue."