The 9/11 Memorial held a ceremony on Friday, July 25 on the plaza to welcome former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts, a recent recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor.
Representatives from the Port Authority Police Department, New York Police Department and the Fire Department of New York gathered on the memorial plaza the morning for the event. Pitts was greeted with a bagpipe and drum ceremony prior to his visit to the museum.
President Barack Obama awarded Pitts the Medal of Honor this month for his courageous actions while fighting in Afghanistan during the 2008 Battle of Wanat, when nine American soldiers died. However, that number might have increased had it not been for Pitts’ actions.
According to the U.S. Army website, Pitt was "bleeding heavily" from both legs and an arm after an attack by Afghan forces. Despite severe injuries and blood loss, Pitts fought for more than an hour to protect the surviving troops at the post.
"In Ryan Pitts you see the humility and the loyalty that define America’s men and women in uniform," President Obama said at a White House ceremony, CNN reported.
"Valor was everywhere that day, and the real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home," Pitts said, according to the Associated Press. "It is their names — not mine — that I want people to know."
By Jordan Friedman, 9/11 Memorial Research and Digital Projects Associate