In a moving ceremony yesterday at the White House, President Obama presented Army Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta with the Medal of Honor. Allahpundit has an excellent write-up (with many links) of the event and of what Sgt. Giunta did to merit the honor. As he points out, Giunta is the first living recipient since Vietnam: “Watching him smile sheepishly as the room applauds is thus hopelessly bittersweet, gratifying in that he got to enjoy the recognition he deserves but painful as a reminder that most others didn’t. A precious moment. Don’t miss it.”
The only discordant note? This moment in President Obama’s remarks:"Now, I'm going to go off-script here for a second and just say I really like this guy."
He should have stayed on script. Sgt. Giunta was being honored by the president, on behalf of the nation, for an act of extraordinary heroism. Who cares whether Barack Obama “really like[s] this guy” or not? Does the grace of being liked by Barack Obama add one iota to Sgt. Giunta’s luster? Obama seems incapable of understanding that, when he acts formally as president of the United States, it’s really not about him, and that intruding himself into a ceremony like this diminishes him. Fortunately, Obama’s graceless interjection could not diminish what Sgt. Giunta did.