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Disneyland Resort Salutes United States Army Medal of Honor Recipient

Yesterday was a proud day for the Disneyland Resort. During the daily flag retreat ceremony at Disneyland park, we had the privilege of honoring United States Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who was recently presented the Medal of Honor by President Obama for his heroic actions in Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor is the military’s most prestigious award and Staff Sgt. Giunta is the first living service member to receive it for action in any war since Vietnam. Also honored was United States Army Staff Sgt. Erick Gallardo, Silver Star recipient and a Southern California native from Chula Vista.

Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs and Disneyland Resort President George A. Kalogridis hosted the ceremony, which celebrated the many servicemen and women who serve our country each day.

It was a moving moment for many cast members and guests – myself included – and one we will never forget.


  • In light of the tragedy this past weekend the traditions that unite us are made even more important.

    Of all the traditions my family enjoys at Disneyland, Flag Retreat is the most special!! As a Navy veteran from the Vietnam era I always try to make Retreat when I’m in the Park. In the fall of 2004 I accompanied my older brother Joe on his last trip to visit the Naval Station in San Diego and then on our first and only visit together to Disneyland. My brother was a 21 year Navy Veteran and dedicated to the ideals that America stands for. Though he was in failing health we stood at Retreat when Anchors Away was played. I was so proud to stand with him on that beautiful September day! It is one of the Disney memories that my family and I will cherish forever.

    It is our fervent hope that you always keep this tradition alive and we are especially pleased of the dignity and respect that Ernie and his “troops” bring to the ceremony! Thank you for honoring those two very special young men this week and for honoring all the men and women that serve our proud country!

    Mike Tucson Arizona

  • I feel that we need to have the respect for all thoes who pertected us byserving in the millitary. Thanks Disneys for also respecting the decission that they have made.

  • As a Vietnam vet and a member of the Buffalo Soldiers, I was honored to be a part of the ceremony saluting these two American heroes. Anytime Disney wants to honor the men and women who are serving our country the Buffalo Soldiers are at your disposal to thank them for their service to their country.

    Trooper Ron

  • So Fantastic! Thank you Disneyland and Thank you to those who serve our great nation in the military

  • It was another great day at the Main Street flagpole honoring America and her heroes!

    As a regular attender at the flag retreat, still aglow from the Veteran’s Day ceremony it was great to have this special time of honoring SSgt Giunta and SSgt Gallardo, modern day American heroes, who unlike many of the older vets that were drafted had to make the decision to volunteer for service in the Army, a volunteer act that cost them greatly.

    It was so great that Ernie was able to attend and lead the retirement of the flags and I know that he was greatly honored to be able to give the flag to SSgt Giunta.

    Ernie is a true American treasure and the flag retreat is one of my favorite things about Disneyland.

    It was neat to see my father, a Vietnam era veteran in the video behind the stage with the other vets.

    Thanks Disney for keeping this great tradition alive!

  • I wish I had be visiting the park when this ceremony was happening, it would have been such an honor to see. I always enjoy the flag retreat on Main Street. Thank you to the brave men and women who are serving in our military and thank you to their families for their sacrifices as well. Thank You to Disneyland for taking the time to recognize these men too.

  • I was there yesterday and what a honor it was to be present for this celebration! Not only were the two medal recipients honored, but each and every person who was ever a part of our military service was also honored by a playing of the songs representing each branch of the service. My son was with me as well, and when they played Anchors Aweigh, the Navy’s theme song, I was proud to acknowledge his service to our country as a submariner. Thank you, Disneyland! You deserve to be proud!

  • I feel so lucky to have stumbled upon this yesterday. I have watched the flag retreat many times, but knew something special was in store when we saw them setting up risers and roping the area off. We made sure we were back on Main Street in time to thank these wonderful servicemen. Thank you Disneyland for honoring them (the statues brought a tear to my eye).

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