Washington President Barack Obama on Thursday praised a U.S. soldier who three times left cover for an attempted rescue while Taliban bullets and grenades rained around him, ultimately losing his own life while trying to save his comrade on an Afghan battlefield.
A somber Obama, standing just feet from Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti’s parents, told a White House audience that the 30-year-old soldier’s sacrifice should give Americans pause when they throw around words such as duty, honor, sacrifice and heroism.
“Do we really grasp the meaning of these values? Do we truly understand the nature of these virtues, to serve and to sacrifice?” Obama asked. “Jared Monti knew. The Monti family knows. And they know that the actions we honor today were not a passing moment of courage. They were the culmination of a life of character and commitment.”
Presenting his first Medal of Honor, Obama lavished praise on the soldier from Raynham, Mass., who was leading a scouting mission along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan when a helicopter deployed to resupply the patrol blew their cover.