Hundreds Show Up for Hometown Hero Sal Giunta's First Book Signing

By Addison Speck, Reporter

Sal Giunta, Medal of Honor recipient and Cedar Rapids Kennedy 2003 graduate, answers questions in Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School's black box theater during a community reception for Giunta before the senior class recognition night on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, at the school in Cedar Rapids. Kennedy senior Abi Gray was awarded the $1000 Sal Guinta Scholarship of Honor, which is in memory of Sgt. Josh Brennan and Spc. Hugo Mendoza, killed during the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan battle. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Liz Blood

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - A hometown hero was back in eastern Iowa on Thursday for his very first book signing.

In November of 2010, Sal Giunta earned the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. The Hiawatha native was the first living American to receive the honor for service in Iraq or Afghanistan. He has now put his experiences serving into a memoir called "Living with Honor" by himself with Joe Layden.

More than 300 people turned out to the Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Cedar Rapids to hear Giunta speak and pick up his new book. "I didn't expect this, not in a million years, this is cool," said Giunta. The book hits shelves December 4th, but those in attendance received an advanced copy.

He said the memoir recognizes people who haven't earned a Medal of Honor but are just as important in making a difference for our country. "I think it's a story that needs to be told because us as Americans enjoy so many freedoms every single day without having to worry about it personally, but there are people that go out every single day and worry about our freedoms. They worry on our behalf and fight on our behalf and I think that's very important," said Giunta.

His family and other veterans filled the first several rows of seats, but even those standing behind bookshelves or clear in the back, were listening to every word the humble hero shared. "My point to write the book wasn't to glorify anything that I did, it was to give the people who were with me the entire time their just credit," said Giunta.

Giunta signed hundreds of books for his hometown fans, and answered questions. He now hopes that when Eastern Iowans go home and read it, they will see just how brave all of our service men and women are. "What I did was not special by any means, I did what I was supposed to do, I believed it was the right thing to do and that's what we want all of our services members to do," said Giunta.

This is the inaugural book for The Gazette's Book Club. If you would like to join or would like more information you can visit their website here.

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