The gilded chairs and elegant chandeliers belied the emotional gravity in the room.
Late Tuesday afternoon, Capt. William Swenson received the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony, where the President bestowed the nation’s highest military honor on a visibly emotional Swenson:
he somber audience included other survivors of the Battle of Ganjgal and the families of those who fell in battle that day. These guests received received special recognition during the President’s remarks, and for the only time during the ceremony, Swenson broke his stance to applaud the honored guests.
But this small gesture provides some insight into Swenson’s character who has chosen to remain private following his sudden turn in the spotlight. Recently revealed footage circulated the internet, providing a glimpse into Swenson’s actions that day, and the President referenced that “remarkable piece of video,” describing Swenson’s dedication to the men under his command:
“A simple act of compassion and loyalty to a brother in arms. And as the door closes and the helicopter takes off, he turns and goes back the way he came back — into the heat of battle.”
You can see the full video of the ceremony below: