Trump presents Medal of Honor to family of Iraq war hero
By Associated Press
March 27, 2019
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump can recognize individuals for contributions to the arts and humanities, to science and technology and for other gifts to American society, but the Medal of Honor is one of the only awards he gives out regularly, recognizing military members living or dead for acts of bravery against an enemy.
President Donald Trump presents a posthumous Medal of Honor for U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins, to his surviving son Trevor Oliver, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on March 27, 2019. On June 1, 2007 while serving in Iraq, Atkins tackled a suicide bomber, shielding three of his fellow soldiers from the explosion, but resulting in his own death.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty ImagesTrump on Wednesday presented his eighth Medal of Honor, this time to the family of Army Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins, who gave his life in 2007 to save fellow soldiers from an Iraqi suicide bomber.
The president, who received a series of deferments to avoid military service during the Vietnam War, speaks highly of medal recipients. He recounts for White House guests the details of the heroic acts for which the recipients are being recognized and, at times speaks of them using language that suggests he could not have matched their bravery.
"America is the greatest force for peace, justice and freedom the world has ever known because of you and people like you," Trump said at the October ceremony for retired Marine Sgt. Maj. John Canley , the most recent medal recipient. "There are very few. There are very few. Brave people, but very, very few like you, John."
The 80-year-old Canley's heroism during the Vietnam War included twice scaling a hospital wall in view of the enemy to help extract wounded Marines.
At an earlier ceremony, Trump said Medal of Honor recipients are a godsend.
"Our nation is rich with blessings, but our greatest blessings of all are the patriots like John and all of you that just stood, and, frankly, many of the people in this room — I exclude myself, and a few of the politicians, who, like John, carry our freedom on their shoulders, march into the face of evil, and fight to their very last breath so that we can live in freedom, and safety, and peace," he said before presenting the medal to the widow of John A. Chapman. The Air Force sergeant was critically wounded and died in 2002 while trying to rescue a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan.
Trump asked past Medal of Honor recipients attending the August 2018 event to stand and be recognized.
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