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Medal of Honor recipient moves to Colorado: 'I will carry this the rest of my life'

10:01 PM, Jul 26, 2011   |    comments
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Since then, the 26-year-old has left the Army and moved to Colorado where he says he just wants to be a regular guy and move on with his life.

But he hasn't done that quite yet. He's been busy traveling the country to share his story.

"This isn't mine," Giunta said about the medal around his neck. "Like I said, this belongs to all the veterans of all these wars. All the unsung heroes, all the people who don't come back."

On Oct. 25, 2007, Giunta's platoon was ambushed while in eastern Afghanistan. Giunta risked his life to pull an injured soldier back to cover. Then he risked it again to stop two insurgents from dragging another soldier away.

Two of Giunta's good friends did not survive the attack. He says it was the worst day of his life and it is still not easy to talk about.

"It's terrible for me. I would be doing a lot better if I didn't do this," he said.

But when he travels around the country, he still tells the story. Tuesday, he told the story at the Cable Center on the University of Denver campus.

Giunta decided to leave the military this year.

"The Medal of Honor truly is for one moment and one thing that I've done. I've done a number of pretty decent things. I've done a lot of bad things, too. And I think I can't base my entire life off this moment. I need separation and I think the military doesn't quite allow me to get the separation as in the civilian world where I can go to school and just be another guy sitting in class or I can be Sal, and we can just always be peers," he said.

But Sal the student will always be remembered as Staff. Sgt. Giunta the war hero. And even if though the memories pain him, he says he will keep talking about that medal around his neck.

"I will carry this the rest of my life and if people ask me to talk about it, I will talk about it because I talk about it for all the people it belongs to," he said. "If this helps raise awareness for how much these troops, men and women in uniform, and their families, sacrifice for us. I think that's a great thing," he said.

Giunta says he moved to Colorado because it was his wife's turn to pick where they would live. She had vacationed here and decided it looked like a pretty great place to start the next chapter of their lives.

It will be busy.

Giunta starts school at Colorado State University in August. He and his wife Jenny are expecting their first child in September.

Giunta has also been visiting lots of veterans groups, he supports an organization that works to help wounded soldiers and Tuesday night he spoke for the Medal of Honor Foundation. That foundation works to make sure the history of Medal of Honor winners isn't forgotten.

You can watch their recorded stories from recipients on their website: www.cmohfoundation.org.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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