Tucson watches Endeavour launchPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- The launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour is, of course, especially meaningful for Tucsonans, because of the Giffords connection.
A group of her supporters got up bright and early Monday to watch the launch live and wish Mark Kelly good luck and godspeed.
The Trident Grill and many of its patrons have long been supporters of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. A picture of her and her husband astronaut Mark Kelly hangs above booth number one.
But it takes something special to pack the bar this early in the morning.
"Four O'Clock in the morning, only Gabby could get anyone here out of bed and get them here," said a Trident patron.
"Just special. We'd do anything for Gabby and Mark. They're great people. They come in here all the time. They mean a lot to us. We love them to death," said Trident Grill GM Uncle Don.
For Giffords to be able to watch the launch in person seemed impossible a couple months ago following the shooting. At first it even seemed unlikely Kelly would still command the mission.
But since January 8, news on Giffords' health has mostly been good. Good enough to watch her husband blast off in Shuttle Endeavor in person. And supporters watching the launch live were keeping both her and her husband in their thoughts.
"Praying for her, and his safety and remembering a couple incidents I hope nobody ever forgets, so they will keep the future safe," said a Trident patron.
Kelly is traveling to space carrying a piece of the Trident Grill.
"Gabby and Mark are terrific. We wish Mark the best on his trip, and he's actually carrying a symbol of my nephew who is the owner of Trident. He's bringing his Trident pin with him to outer space,"
And they are carrying a piece of Kelly and Giffords in their hearts.
"My heart was just jumping and hoping and praying that everything would proceed as it was supposed to, as it was planned for so many months and years. And to be here at a moment to see, so far, such a huge success is absolutely astonishing and heart rending for me," said another Trident patron.
Giffords is wearing Kelly's wedding ring on a chain during the mission. He took her wedding ring into space.