• Lowell Medal of Honor recipient speaks in Natick at Veterans Day dinner

    By: John Monahan

    Updated:

    NATICK, Mass. - It's been five years since Lowell native Ryan Pitts was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in battle during the war on terror in Afghanistan.

    On Monday, veteran Ryan Pitts was back in Massachusetts talking about the battle that got him the nation's most prestigious military honor.

    Pitts gave everyone else the credit and took none for himself. And as he told his story, everyone sat transfixed. The Medal of Honor recipient was the guest speaker at the annual Natick Fire Department Veterans Day Dinner.

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    "I guess I like to think about it [like] I'm talking about my buddies," he said. "My buddies that made it home and my buddies that didn't, and I hope they’re taking away the memories of them."

    Pitts honors the memories of his comrades who fought with him on July 13, 2008 in Wanat, Afghanistan. His unit of 40 attacked by some 200 anti-Afghan soldiers. 

    "Right from the outset we knew this was going to be a fight like no other," he said.  

    He explained how his fellow soldiers fought together. He mentioned their valor, their courage and the men who died in battle.

    "Nine of the most incredible human beings I've ever known," he said.  

    But he never once mentioned what he did on July 13, 2008. 

    The Army awarded SSgt. Ryan Pitts the Medal of Honor for extraordinary acts of heroism at the risk of his own life. He held the enemy at bay, manning a machine gun and throwing grenades, all while severely wounded and near death from blood loss, until help arrived. 

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    For that he now wears the Medal of Honor proudly, he says, not for himself but for the men he served with, who will always be his brothers. 

    "It's not about me," he said. "It's about everybody that I served with, the guys that came home, all the guys that didn't, and it's really about everybody that's worn the uniform."

    At the end of the day, Pitts says his unit is like all Americans: we are each unique but we are all in this together. 

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