CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Twenty of the nation’s greatest military heroes made their way to the Holy City to honor other Americans for their contributions to society. On Tuesday, City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg gifted the key to the city to each recipient, as a small thanks for their part in ensuring freedom for all through their acts of service.

The recipients, in town for Citizen Honors Week, a time where the most courageous of the nation look to civilians throughout the country who embody the values of the Medal of Honor in their daily lives.

I think most of the recipients will tell you, that medal that they wear doesn’t belong to them, they did it for others. They did it to save others, they did it to help others, they did it out of love. 

Britt Slabinski, Retired Command Master Chief U.S. Navy 

Britt Slabinski is a Retired Command Master Chief in the U.S. Navy. He received a Medal of Honor for his role in Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. He says service goes beyond a call for duty, and to him, the word “service” means love.

While the recipients believe what they did on the battlefield was but a fleeting moment, they recognized the impacts their actions had on the lives of other people and now look to amplify other acts of service through the awards.

Slabinski says as a member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, he looks to the American flag as a representation of what this week and this country are about. He says, “The red, the blood and convictions that have been given for, the white the innocence and purity, and the blue the justice. But really there’s something that holds that all together and that’s the thread that is woven in and out of that fabric. In and out of all those ideals, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, it’s all represented in that flag. But the thing that holds all of that together is that thread, and that thread is you and I, that us and our fellow citizens.”

Five honorees for the Citizen Honors Service awards will be announced on Wednesday.

To learn more about the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, or to nominate an ordinary citizen who does extraordinary service for the community, click here.