‘God Bless Our Troops’: POTUS and Melania Honor One of the ‘Bravest’ Posthumously With Medal of Honor

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A fallen hero who sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow American service members around him was honored on Wednesday by President Donald Trump who presented posthumously the Medal of Honor.

“In his final moments on earth, Travis did not run. He didn’t know what it was to run,” Trump said. “He laid down his life to save the lives of his fellow warriors.” The president continued:

“In so doing, he embodied the deepest meaning of the motto of the 10th Mountain Division. He climbed to glory. Now Travis is looking down from above on all of us, on all of his fellow warriors, on his great family. Wrapped in glory, the loving glory of almighty God.”

Staff Sgt. Travis Atkins deployed on his second tour to Iraq but on June 1, 2007, he was met with a decision to give up his life for three other servicemembers.

While securing a road in the town of Abu Samak, there were two suspicious men and when Atkins realized one of the men had a suicide vest, he bear-hugged the man without hesitation, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.

“I want him to be remembered as the best father that anyone could ask for, and also at the same time, being the best soldier that anyone could ask for,” Trevor Oliver, Akins’ son said in a tribute video, later calling his late father his “icon.”

Watch the video below:

“We are humbly reminded of the invaluable cost of freedom,” the first lady wrote in response to Atkins’ service. “His last actions were made to save the lives of his teammates. God Bless our troops.”

At Wednesday’s ceremony to honor Atkins’ selfless sacrifice and bravery while serving overseas, President Trump honored the late service member by presenting Atkins’ son with the award on his behalf. Atkins’ parents also joined in accepting the medal of honor.

“He was an absolute hero in a lot of people’s eyes, mainly mine for the way he was as a father — goofy, kind, tough,” Trevor said, also thanking his father for “making me who I am.”

Atkins was initially awarded the Distinguished Service Cross award, the second highest military award, but it was upgraded on Wednesday to the highest award.

Watch the video below:

“He had definitely sacrificed himself so that we could live,” Sand Aijo, the machine gunner in their humvee, told CBS News of Atkins’ brave moment. “That’s when Travis started to actually engage in a form of hand to hand combat with this man. Travis bear-hugged the man, lifted him off the ground and slammed him down.”

“The real reward is what your men think of you,” Atkins’ father, who is a Vietnam veteran, said.

Watch the comments from the parents of the “fallen hero” below:

This week, those who’ve received the highest medal in the military, the Medal of Honor, were recognized by the different branches of the military on Medal of Honor day Monday.

“Because these young Marines, they believe in you, they would die for you,” Sgt. Maj. John Canley, a recipient of the Medal of Honor, said in the U.S. Marines video.

Watch the videos honoring medal of honor recipients below:

After Wednesday’s ceremony, it was the president’s eighth time awarding the Medal of Honor to the brave service members who are heroes in the eyes of many.

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