President Trump praised American service members and families at the Medal of Honor Reception, an annual celebration of American heroism.

The reception for the Medal of Honor is both a political and heroic event. Nothing pleases members of the Congress and the US president more than to give away the medal to the hero. This afternoon, Trump hosted a reception in the presence of the top Pentagon leadership, with the Chief of Staff of the Army Mark A. Milley arriving early. The military band, dressed in red, festive uniforms played popular tunes while the waiters served prosecco on the silver platters, but none to the press.

Around 180 guests were invited to the reception, including the families and guests of the Medal of Honor recipients. Steven Munich was one of the rare cabinet members who came to take his seat in the East Room early instead of holding himself up at the bar and out of the press’ eyes.

President Trump’s entrance was saluted by applause. He opened his speech with grand words of American heroism, acknowledging the outstanding bravery of the recipients of this heroic award. “You are the strongest, the bravest, and the finest among us. See, my ego is not that big,” he said to lots of laughs. During his speech, the President also acknowledged the military spouses and the role they play not only in the family unit but also within the military.

During his talk, Trump was on point, without his usual digressions and aggrandizements. He acknowledged General Kelly in the audience, calling him “ my friend”, probably as a counter-reaction to speculation that he’s the Anonymous author of the New York Times Op-Ed.

Watching Trump within the military setting, it is pretty obvious that he loves the environment and that he is very comfortable in interacting with the “American warriors”. Reaction from the Medal of Honor recipients in the room was warm and approving of president Trump. It was one of the rare occasions where partisan politics was set aside. Even the press corps was less tense than usual, but that may as well as be because today we were able to get news and ask Larry Kudlow all the questions we wanted.

A few weeks earlier, President Trump posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to technical Sergeant John. A. Chapman who was part of the difficult rescue mission Takur Ghar in Afghanistan in 2002 when they were under Al Qaeda fire. The review process for the Medal of Honor is a rigorous one and for the serviceman to be awarded one, it has to be heroic.

To this date, only 3,503 medals were awarded and there are only living 72 recipients. Only one woman was ever awarded the Medal of Honor at Bull Run on July 21, 1861

Medal of Honor Recipients Chief Warrant Officer 4th Class Hershel Williams, USMC, Retired, World War II Then-Staff Sergeant Hiroshi Miyamura, USA, Korea Then-Sergeant 1st Class Ronald Rosser, USA, Korea Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins, USA, Retired, Vietnam Then-Sergeant John Baca, USA, Vietnam Colonel Donald Ballard, Kansas Army National Guard, Retired, Vietnam Colonel Harvey Barnum, USMC, Retired, Vietnam Then-Sergeant Gary Beikirch, USA, Vietnam Colonel Bruce Crandall, USA, Retired, Vietnam Then-Sergeant First Class Sammy Davis, USA, Vietnam Major Drew Dix, USA, Retired, Vietnam Colonel Roger Donlon, USA, Retired, Vietnam Technical Sergeant Michael Fitzmaurice, United States Air National Guard, Retired, Vietnam Lieutenant General Robert Foley, USA, Retired, Vietnam Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hagemeister, USA, Retired, Vietnam Then-Petty Officer Robert Ingram, USN, Vietnam Then-Staff Sergeant Don Jenkins, USA, Vietnam Command Sergeant Major Gary Littrell, USA, Retired, Vietnam Then-Specialist 5th Class James McCloughan, USA, Vietnam Colonel Robert Modrzejewski, USMC, Retired, Vietnam Sergeant 1st Class Melvin Morris Sr., USA, Retired, Vietnam Lieutenant Thomas Norris, USN, Retired, Vietnam Command Sergeant Major Robert Patterson, USA, Retired, Vietnam Sergeant Major Kenneth Stumpf, USA, Retired, Vietnam Major James Taylor, USA, Retired Vietnam Then-First Lieutenant Brian Thacker, USA, Vietnam Lieutenant Michael Thornton, USN, Retired, Vietnam Captain Gary Rose, USA, Retired, Vietnam Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, USN, Afghanistan Staff Sergeant Ty Carter, USA, Retired, Afghanistan Master Sergeant Leroy Petry, USA, Retired, Afghanistan Master Chief Special Warfare Operator Britt Slabinski, USN, Retired, Afghanistan Major William Swenson, USA, Afghanistan