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.
But that’s not all, heÂ 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.
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 soldierâ€™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 â€œendowed by their Creatorâ€ when speaking of â€œunalienable rights.â€
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.
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Barack Obama and Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta