Don't Let it Get Away
The meaning behind Gabrielle Giffords' wake-up song shuttle repeat
In 2006, when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly were still yet to be married, Giffords lovingly arrived at Kennedy Space Center for her boyfriend's shuttle launch. For that mission, she chose the crew's "wake-up song," a tradition in place since the Apollo Program in which astronauts are serenaded by their colleagues in mission control with lyrics from popular songs that seem appropriate for the occasion.
Gabby's esprit de corps track? U2's euphoric single, "Beautiful Day."
That inspirational single received a reprise today when Gabby, along with Kelly's daughters from a previous marriage, chose "Beautiful Day" as the wake-up song for Kelly and his crews' first morning in space aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. According to the Associated Press, Kelly radioed this morning, "It's good to be waking up in space again. I want to thank Gabby, Claudia and Claire for that great wake up song. It's always good to hear U2 and 'Beautiful Day' in space."
Listen closely, and it becomes clear that "Beautiful Day" recounts the story of a character who has suffered loss, but persists to find beauty. More than ever, such lyrics resonate with Giffords and Kelly as the Arizona congresswoman recovers from a gunshot to the head received in a Jan. 8 Tucson shooting. Making her first trips out of Houston since arriving at the renowned TIRR Memorial Hermann to rehabilitate, Giffords flew to Cape Canaveral on two occasions to witness the Endeavour's final launch.
She gazed from her wheelchair on the roof of the launch control center during Monday's successful liftoff, repeating, "Good stuff, good stuff," according to reports.