In an emotional White House ceremony, President Obama today awarded an Afghanistan veteran with the nation's highest military honor, CNN reports. Retired Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha accepted the Medal of Honor with his lower lip shaking and eyes moist, saying he was "conflicted" by the medal Obama had placed around his neck. "I stand here with mixed emotions of both joy and sadness today," he said. "The joy comes from recognition from us doing our jobs as soldiers on distant battlefields."
"But it is countered by the constant reminder of the loss of our battle buddies—my battle buddies, my soldiers, my friends." On October 3, 2009, Romesha and 52 other soldiers came under hellish attack from hundreds of Taliban fighters at Combat Outpost Keating in eastern Afghanistan. Strategically stuck in lower ground, Romesha took out an enemy group by machine gun, tended to an injured soldier despite his shrapnel wounds, and led a charge through gunfire to take back an ammunition supply depot. "Our troops should never ever be put in a position where they have to defend the indefensible," said Obama, who described them as "driven by pure love."