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Medal of Honor Recipient Receives Hero’s Welcome at the United Center



It’s a long way from the rugged mountains of Afghanistan to the friendly confines of the United Center in Chicago, and on Wednesday night Blackhawk fans gave Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta a hero’s welcome.

Giunta who saluted the flag while standing on the ice during the National Anthem, was recently awarded the Medal of Honor for actions above and beyond the call of duty. He is the first living recipient to receive the U.S. military’s highest honor in thirty seven years.

“To be able to stand on the ice and hear the national anthem … and hear the reaction of the crowd and feel the rumble and see the American flag just waving in all its glory at the top of the  stadium  was truly incredible,” said Giunta.

The Blackhawks fell to Colorado 4-3, as newly acquired forward Thomas Fleischmann powered the Avalanche with a rare third period hat trick.

Fleischmann, who came to the Avalanche in a November 30 trade with the Washington Capitals, had found himself in Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau’s dog house recently and wasted no time finding some redemption with his new team.

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"I think he is the type of player that needs to play with skilled players," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "It's a fresh start for him, a start over, and things are going well for him right now."

The Avalanche who have won four straight host the Ottawa Senators Friday night at the Pepsi Center, While the Blackhawks, on a three-game losing streak, host the Detroit Redwings.

After Wednesday’s game Giunta told reporters that he didn’t mind the Chicago tradition of cheering during the National Anthem.

“This is the only place that I’ve seen them cheer for the anthem. I didn’t know how I’d feel about that, but standing down there on the ice, I thought it was great.”

Giunta was decorated for running through enemy fire to save a fallen comrade after his platoon had been ambushed by insurgents in the rugged Korengal Valley of eastern Afghanistan.



By: Jim Pike
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer
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