Sal Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of American soldiers during the war in Afghanistan. He's a national hero, I'm very thankful I was able to shake his hand.

Sal spoke Thursday night at the Building Our Community Gala in Cedar Rapids. This event was presented by The Greater Cedar Rapids Area Home Builders Association.

I must say, this was one of the best speeches I've ever heard. The stories he told of combat were chilling. This was a night I will remember for the rest of my life.

Mr. Giunta talked about the mission his platoon took in the Korengal Valley. His team was ambushed by the Taliban, they had to fight their way out of a very deadly situation. He talked about the gunfire and the grenades. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It's something you would see in a movie. But for this hero, it wasn't a movie. It was real life.

The end of his speech is what earned him the Medal of Honor. Minutes after the battle begun, Sal found himself all alone at the top of a hill. That's where he saw two enemy Taliban carrying one of the injured Americans. Sal took aim and killed one of them, injuring the other. He carried his friend to safety....Sal had saved his fellow American from the bad guys, and now he had to care for him until the medics made it to the scene.

Sal watched over his fellow soldier for almost a half hour. He did everything he could to keep his friend alive until help arrived. It worked, the man lived.

Salvatore Giunta is an American hero. Today is Veterans Day, let's salute him and all of the other brave men and woman that put their life on hold to serve our great country.

If you see a Veteran today, give that person a hug. They earned it!

Photo by Jaymz Larson