President Barack Obama recognized a soldier's struggles on and off the battlefield when he presented the Medal of Honor on Monday.
Army Staff Sgt. Ty Carter received the top combat valor medal for demonstrating "the urge to serve others at whatever cost," Obama said, when his combat station in Afghanistan came under attack.
The October 2009 assault on Combat Outpost Keating by some 300 Taliban fighters left eight Americans dead, many wounded and "almost everyone was left with deep invisible wounds to their hearts and to their minds," Carter said after the White House ceremony.
"Only those closest to me can see the scars that come from seeing good men take their last breath," he said.
A second soldier, Army Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha, in February was presented with the Medal of Honor for his role in that battle. Two living soldiers have not been presented the medal for the same battle in nearly 50 years.
Now, Carter is an advocate for other veterans suffering from the invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress disorder.
Obama recounted Carter's acts of bravery, then said it is "absolutely critical for us to work with brave young men like Ty to put an end to any stigma that keeps more folks from seeking help."
The president noted the "blizzard of bullets and steel into which Ty ran, not once or twice, or even a few times, but perhaps ten times, and in doing so he displayed the essence of true heroism."
Carter planned to show his family around the Washington monuments, Obama said. But "if you want to know what makes our country truly great, if you want to know what a true American hero looks like," he told them at the ceremony, "you don't have to look too far. You just have to look at your dad because today he's the sight we've come to see."
North Idaho soldier among eight killed at Combat Outpost Keating
While Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sergeant Ty Carter's efforts saved countless lives during the firefight at Combat Outpost Keating, eight soldiers were killed, including Sergeant Josh Kirk of North Idaho.
Jessica Tingley wears a pin on her shirt, a symbol of the sacrifice her brother made for his country.
"The pin is a Gold Star pin the military gives to the family that you have a loved one killed in action," Tingley said.
On his second tour in Afghanistan at Combat Outpost Keating Jessica's brother, Sgt. Josh Kirk and 52 other soldiers of his troop found themselves surrounded by hundreds of Taliban on October 3, 2009, one day before they were scheduled to leave the outpost.
"They woke up just before 6 and it was a very well coordinated attack, my brother was killed very early, very early on he was returning fire from an entry point," Tingley said.
But many lives were saved that day because of the bravery of Kirk's fellow soldier, Spokane native Ty Carter. While bullets and RPGs landed around him, Carter ran back and forth getting ammo to his squad, and pulled a mortally wounded soldier out of the line of fire.
Now he's continuing to look out for soldiers by addressing concerns about coping with PTSD.
"We appreciate that he is using this platform as an opportunity to really encourage soldiers to get help for post traumatic stress," Tingley said.
Carter is the second soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for the battle. Clint Romesha was the first.
"At one point the enemy was in the wire and overran the COP. Clint Romesha, the gentleman who was awarded the first Medal of Honor, he really led the charge to repel the force," Tingley said.
In January. Jessica was at the White House when President Obama awarded Romesha the Medal of Honor, something she called a once in a lifetime opportunity. On Monday, her mom was in Washington to see Carter receive his Medal of Honor. Neighbors in Bonners Ferry raised $1,600 to pay for her flight and hotel.
"She's got good days and bad days. She's proud of Josh. We're all proud of Josh. We wish the outcome could've been different but we're proud of the guys. They're all heroes. That's the thing to remember, they were all heroes, you could give them all an award," she said.