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About (Late) Last Night: Medal of Honor winner Leroy Petry shares his story with Jon Stewart [Video]

July 15, 2011 |  8:41 am


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Exclusive - Leroy Petry Extended Interview Pt. 1
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All too often, late-night television is an outlet for the empty-headed blather and tedious self-promotion  of starlets and pseudo celebrities, but every so often it can actually be inspiring. Case in point: On Thursday night, "The Daily Show" featured an appearance by Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry, the Army Ranger who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama earlier this week, making him only the second living recipient since the Vietnam War.

Petry told Stewart about the heroic act that earned him the medal: In 2008, during a fight with insurgents in Afghanistan, he lost his hand to a grenade he was trying to throw away from two of his fellow soldiers. As if that weren't enough, at that point Petry had already been shot through both legs.

"I didn't feel [the bullet] go all the way through both legs. I was running around doing things for a little bit," he said. "I know that sounds odd."

"How is that possible?" Stewart wondered.

"We're all brothers out there," Petry explained. "Just like I wouldn't give up on one of my children, I wouldn't give up on one of my brothers."

He also told Stewart about his "split-second" decision to clear the grenade away from his soldiers. "First thing that went through my mind was 'Get it out of here and get it away from my guys,'" Petry said. "I reached for it and started to throw it, and as soon as I opened the hand that's the last thing that happened before the hand disappeared."

Stewart was so impressed, he invited Petry to stick around for a while longer (you can watch the entire interview here). "It's an incredible burden that the military and military families are bearing. Is there anything people can do to help them bear with it?"

"The simple 'thank you' to service member in the uniformed services is the best thing they can get. Medals and stuff are great, but when you get that pat on the back or that simple thank you, that is immensely rewarding to us," Petry said. 


Leroy Petry receives Medal of Honor

-- Meredith Blake