Medal of Honor Recipient Visits Arcadia High School

The first living person to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War spoke to nearly one thousand students and teachers at Arcadia High School on Thursday. Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta was recognized with America’s highest military honor, awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty, for his heroic actions in Afghanistan after advancing into enemy fire while under attack from the Taliban, and rescuing one of his fellow sergeants who was shot and being dragged away by two enemy soldiers.

“The medal represents the bravest men and women that I’ve ever met in my entire life, and people that have given their lives so I can be born free,” Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta told the audience inside the Arcadia Performing Arts Center.

Staff Sergeant Giunta, who has also been awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, talked with students and staff at Arcadia High School as a part of the Medal of Honor Character Development Program in partnership with the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. Staff Sergeant Giunta shared his powerful story as part of “Lessons of Personal Bravery and Self-Sacrifice.” He talked about the concepts of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity, and citizenship. He also advised the students to not be afraid to fail, take advantage of the amazing opportunities life will provide, and he stressed the importance of selfless leadership.

“Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta's talk was a powerful and inspirational detailing of his personal bravery and self-sacrifice,” said Kay Kinsler, who serves on the Arcadia Unified Board of Education. “It was a fabulous lesson and opportunity for our students to see and meet a true hero in this day and age.”

There are only 76 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. Staff Sergeant Giunta received a phone call from President Obama notifying him that he was selected for the prestigious honor.