Tucson gathers to watch shuttle launch

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By Natalie Flanzer By Natalie Flanzer
The astrovan makes it's way to the launchpad before the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, May 16, 2011. AP Photo/Morry Gash) By Morry Gash The astrovan makes it's way to the launchpad before the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Monday, May 16, 2011. AP Photo/Morry Gash) By Morry Gash
Space shuttle Endeavour flies past the US and mission flags after launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday, May 16, 2011.  (AP Photo/John Raoux) By John Raoux Space shuttle Endeavour flies past the US and mission flags after launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday, May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/John Raoux) By John Raoux
Space shuttle Endeavour flies past the US Flag after launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday, May 16, 2011.  (AP Photo/John Raoux) By John Raoux Space shuttle Endeavour flies past the US Flag after launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Monday, May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/John Raoux) By John Raoux
Space Shuttle Endeavour is seen at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Monday May 16, 2011. Endeavour and a crew of six are scheduled to lift off Monday on a mission to the international space station. (AP Photo/John Raoux) By John Raoux Space Shuttle Endeavour is seen at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Monday May 16, 2011. Endeavour and a crew of six are scheduled to lift off Monday on a mission to the international space station. (AP Photo/John Raoux) By John Raoux

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The crowd cheered as if they were at Kennedy Space Station in Florida watching the space shuttle Endeavour launch Monday morning. Instead, the cheers came from more than 2,000 miles away at a small Tucson, Ariz., restaurant called the Trident Grill.

By 5 a.m. Monday, community members started to arrive at the gathering spot often frequented by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Commander Mark Kelly. 

It was only fitting to hold a viewing launch party there. After all, above booth number one, the couple's regular table, hangs a photograph of Kelly and his last launch.

While this party was organized by the Giffords campaign, there was no talk of politics. It was all about supporting a woman who has become an inspiration to so many.

"We just wanted to come here to watch together," said one viewer. "Gabby has come so far and we're just so proud of her."

Seventeen weeks after Giffords was shot in the head in an attempted assassination, the representative has made remarkable progress.

Under doctors care, she was able to travel to Florida to watch her husband lead the Endeavour crew in its final mission. She watched in privacy, away from public view.  

"It means a lot for Gabby to be there, to be a wife and support her husband," said Jessica Schultz, Gifford's political director.

Dozens of folks clapped, yelled and joined in the excitement of seeing the shuttle launch together. It's that community bond that has helped folks heal from the shooting massacre in January.