The Brennan and Mendoza families were in attendance at today's ceremony and received sustained applause when President Obama introduced them.
Noting the loss of their sons, Obama said, "I know that there are no words that even three years later can ease the ache in your hearts or repay the debt that America owes to you, but on behalf of a grateful nation, let me express profound thanks to your sons' service and their sacrifice."
Several of Giunta's squad mates also were on hand for today's ceremony and received a similar round of applause when they were introduced.
Following today's ceremony, Giunta displayed his characteristic humility when he said that though receiving the award was "an incredible experience," he added," I want to make it be known that this represents all service members from all branches that have been in Afghanistan since 2001 [and] Iraq since 2003, who were there yesterday, are there today and will go again tomorrow. I really appreciate them, because without their service I have nothing."
He called the ceremony bittersweet because days like today remind him of the night when "I lost two dear friends of mine, Spc. Hugo Mendoza and Sgt. Josh Brennan. And although this is so positive, I would give this back in a second to have my friend with me right now."
Giunta also praised the "unsung heroes of heroes of this war" who "never come back and return a handshake or give a hug or see their family. And we have to give the time to remember them. Because that is the quality of American soldiers we have willing to go to war, to fight and do whatever is necessary until the battle is done."