I had the rare opportunity to listen to Salvatore Giunta’s story last night in person at an event in Westchester County, New York and felt compelled to share his story with you. Sal is one of 79 living Medal of Honor recipients living in the United States and a true American hero. Giunta, a 25-year-old from a small town in Iowa, became the first living, active-duty service member since the Vietnam War to be awarded nation’s highest honor for valor. His message was filled with humility, love and kindness. Freedom that we often take for granted is not free and sometimes comes at a heavy price. As we celebrate this Memorial day let’s appreciate those that protect our freedom and be kinder to each other.
On Oct. 25, 2007, then-Spc. Giunta’s squad was ambushed by insurgents and two soldiers were cut off from the rest. In the initial moments of the firefight, Giunta ventured out into enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Minutes later, he sprinted through enemy fire to stop a pair of insurgents from abducting another wounded soldier. Watch his story here:
Obama called Giunta “a soldier as humble as he is heroic” and drew laughs from the crowd when he broke from his prepared speech and remarked that “I really like this guy.” Watch the medal of honor ceremony and the speech that president Obama gives.
Topics for Discussion:
- What three words would you use to describe this story to a friend?
- What does it mean to be an American hero?
- Why is freedom so important?
- When you see soldiers, show them your gratitude for their brave service to our country!
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.