For the first time since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a living American has been awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest tribute for military service, awarded for valor in combat. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta charged into a “wall of bullets,” President Obama said, to rescue an injured comrade from being taken prisoner by the Taliban. The soldier that Giunta rescued from near-captivity died later from his wounds. "I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now," Giunta said. Standards for achieving the Medal of Honor are so high that many soldiers do not survive the action for which they are honored, and are thus awarded the medal posthumously. "We all just get a sense of people and who they are," said President Obama, who fastened the blue ribbon holding the medal around Giunta’s neck. "And when you meet Sal and you meet his family, you are just absolutely convinced that this is what America is all about, and it just makes you proud."
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