Bang, bang, whoops!
Something unexpected happened when the newest Medal of Honor recipient, former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts, got to ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, two days after being awarded the medal at the White House.
While banging the gavel, Pitts broke the thing, eliciting gasps — then laughter and applause from those around him and in the audience. The look on his face is priceless.
Pitts was accompanied by his wife, Amy — with whom he celebrated his two year wedding anniversary the same day he was presented the medal — and former Army Sgt. Kyle White, who was awarded his own medal in May.
Pitts, 28, is the ninth living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Afghan War. He was honored for his actions during the Battle of Wanat that took place in July 2008, in which nine of his fellow soldiers were killed and 27 more were wounded.
Pitts was almost immediately injured when the battle began but continued fighting for two hours to defend the observation post from falling into Taliban hands, even shooting grenades nearly straight up in the air so they would explode on insurgents just a few feet away.
Since learning that he would be receiving the medal for his deeds that day, Pitts has insisted that the honor belongs all who fought beside him. The real heroes, he said, are the nine who died: 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Bogar, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling.