Obama’s Medal of Honor Salute that Didn’t Happen for Sgt. Giunta

When Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta received his historic Medal of Honor last week, he did not receive the Presidential salute from Barack Obama. Instead, he got a hug, and an awkward one at that. See a video below. Please see an important update below, and another dated 6-25-11.

Medal of Honor

But that’s not all, he referred to the Sgt. as “Sal,” and at this rare and solemn ceremony, quipped “I really like this guy.” The man thinks everything is about him.

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta Receives the Medal of Honor

In an article by Rees Lloyd, he explains not only is Sgt. Giunta the first living American soldier to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, he is first to not be saluted by his Commander in Chief, as far as anyone knows. Here are snippets of that article. Read the entire article at Right in a Left World.

It is a tradition in the military for all military personnel, no matter how high their rank, including the Commander-in-Chief, to salute a holder of the Medal of Honor no matter how lowly his or her rank. If General David Petraeus was to encounter Sgt. Giunta, it would be the General who would salute the enlisted man, as a sign of respect for that soldier’s extraordinary bravery, but also to show respect to all those who have received the Medal of Honor…

And, as far as is known, it is tradition that every President who has had the honor to present the Medal of Honor to a living recipient, has shown humility, respect, and national pride in that recipient by stepping back and rendering a salute…

It is as if he loathes the nation he was so desperate to lead, and be loved by, Messiah-like. It is of a piece with his constant misquoting of the Declaration of Independence by leaving out the words “endowed by their Creator” when speaking of “unalienable rights.”

Obama will bow to Saudi Kings but won’t salute an extraordinary American hero. Incredible! You and I never get over being shocked at this President’s lack of respect for our Military – so just remember back to the first night…the inaugural night, when Obama and his wife skipped the “Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball,” the first and only president to miss the event since the Ball’s inception in 1953.

About Rees Lloyd: He is a longtime civil rights attorney and American Legionnaire. He is the director of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project of the American Legion Department of California and the Alliance Defense Fund

Update 11-28-10: A commenter using the name “Skylark” has pointed out that this article is incorrect with respect to the information that every other President (“as far as any one knows”) has saluted Medal of Honor recipients. Richard Nixon did not salute, Gerald Ford did not salute, Dwight D. Eisenhower did not salute until he was saluted first, with one exception when he was saluted and did not return the honor, and Harry Truman did not salute – at least in the videos linked here, these Presidents were not saluting. Skylark also links to a photo of President Reagan hugging Medal of Honor Recipient Roy Benavidez. It is unclear whether the hug was during, before or after the award was made.

One thing does remain clear, and that is that the Obamas skipped the Salute to Heroes Inaugural Ball.

I should have done my own research on this story, and I offer my apologies for not doing so.

Welcome to I Own the World readers!

UPDATE: July 25, 2011: This article is linked by The Telegraph UK (and I thank them) in a story about Obama’s erroneous remarks about another Medal of Honor recipient. Please read it here.

Barack Obama and Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

  • It might not be intentional disrespect. Don’t underestimate the power of ignorance. After all, this is the guy who mispronounced corpsman as “corpseman” and spoke about “the bomb” dropped on Pearl Harbor.

    • Proof, I know he doesn’t have any military background, but I don’t believe his staff would overlook this. Hey, I missed the one about
      “the bomb” on Pearl Harbor. That unbelievable…except that we’re talking about Obama.

  • More disgraceful, inappropriate behavior from this embarrassment to our country. More evidence that it wasn’t an accident when he referred to American people as “enemies” who should be “punished”. Surely there must be someone on the WH staff that could have informed him of protocol for ceremonies such as this one.

    • Zilla, I’ve pondered that for awhile now, and I think his staff doesn’t give a fig for Military or respecting them. This had to be omitted on purpose, with his knowledge.

  • frank

    Of course he didn’t salute. He is a Marxist.

    • That definitely explains it. This leaves me knowing that his entire White House Staff are not ignorant of military etiquette, they just despise it and refuse it. Thanks for the visit Frank and the comment.

  • PaPatriot

    I don’t believe the President intentionally disrespected this hero. If you are concerned about disrespect of Medal of Honor heroes, check out this site http://www.savethemohgrove.com. The very conservative Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge sold the 52 acre MOH memorial-the oldest in the country to a developer-sadly for the board of directors, the buyer backed out. How could a conservative non profit that educates our children in stewardship and citizenship, sell this incredible property? Shouldn’t their own history (Gen Dwight D Eisenhower was president of this group for over 20 years- his heliport is still in the grove), their patriotism, their respect of all our MOH heroes mean more than money? Why hadn’t they cared about the Grove for the past 10+ years? A local senator gathered 1,000 volunteers to clean it up…why couldn’t they have asked the community? Why didn’t they try to raise money? Maybe the Grove is the golden goose.
    As a conservative this shames me much more than a missed salute.

    • PaPatriot, I followed you link and read about the MoHGrove. I sure can’t answer your question, but keep in mind that these men running it are just a small handful of conservatives.

      Do I understand correctly that this is not a burial ground but a place to honor the recipients of every state? I see that there are over 3,000 recipients but there is no mention of whether or not every state is participating.

      I don’t know enough about it to offer any answers, but I do have questions:

      1) Are they needing money badly? 2) How is it funded? 3) While the land was donated, was there not a trust set-up to keep it open? 4) If they sold it, where would the money go and 4) are there not enough recipients.

      The only thing that mades a difference, of course, is the money. Can they actually run it as a Memorial? I agree with you, if not, surely they could raise the money.

  • Call me Lennie

    After SGT Guinta received a hug from Obama, he was heard to ask, “So where do I go for my salute — my mother?”

  • LauraAgain

    I’ll bet Staff Sgt. Giunta wasn’t too happy that he was receiving the medal from Obama instead of President Bush.

  • Skylark


    Neither Lyndon Johnson nor Richard Nixon, the last Presidents to confer the Medal of Honor on living recipients, were in the habit of saluting the recipient during the ceremony.

    Don’t take my word for it, scroll through some of the old videos here:


  • Skylark

    Hmmm, seems like neither Ford, Eisenhower, nor Truman saluted either:




    One correction to prior: Nixon was not the last President to present the MOH to a living recipient, but the Vietnam war was the last war for which living recipients received the MOH until SSgt Giunta received his.

    • Skylark, I’ve viewed all the videos. You are obviously right about this. I will correct my post. Eisenhower was absolutely sloppy about the way he put the Medals on. Maybe his eyesight was gone???

  • Skylark

    Call me Lennie
    After SGT Guinta received a hug from Obama, he was heard to ask, “So where do I go for my salute — my mother?”

    Gee, do ya think that’s what MOH recipient Roy Benavidez said when Reagan hugged him?


  • Kristy

    Thank you for posting your correction!

  • Obozo is an embarrassment