WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – President Trump bestowed the nation’s highest honor to an Army serviceman killed while serving in Iraq.
Trevor Oliver accepted the Medal of Honor on behalf of his dad, Army Staff Sergeant Travis Atkins, on Wednesday.
Atkins died in June 2007 after the military says he jumped on top of a suicide bomber in Iraq, stopping the blast from killing his fellow soldiers.
“In his final moments on earth, Travis did not run… He didn’t know what it was to run, he did not hesitate, he rose to the highest calling,” President Trump said.
Atkins’ bravery initially earned him the distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest award, in 2008.
His family said they were surprised to learn he would also be awarded the Medal of Honor nearly 12 years after his death.
“It’s something that I can’t put into words. It’s surreal. I still haven’t fully accepted it yet,” Oliver said.
Atkins’ fellow soldiers said they remain forever grateful for their friends’ actions.
“He had that split second to make that decision, and he made that decision to sacrifice himself so we could all live,” said Sand Aijo, former Army sergeant.
Oliver said since his dad’s death, he’s grown closer with those who served alongside his father.
“The medal is something that is a lot of pride, it’s the words that are the real prize,” he said.