Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) returned to the Senate Thursday, nearly one year after suffering a major stroke.

Kirk returned for the opening of the 113th session of Congress. He was greeted on the steps of Capitol Hill by Vice President Joe Biden.

Also welcoming Kirk was Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who honored Kirk with an empty seat at President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union address after the two planned to sit together in a show of bipartisanship. Manchin tweeted his support for Kirk just after his return on Thursday:

Throughout his recovery, Kirk shared his "encouraging" progress with constituents by releasing video messages on YouTube.

"I wanted to make sure we could update the people of Illinois on my progress against this stroke," Kirk said in a video that was released in August 2012.

Watch a video of Kirk's return to Capitol Hill above.

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