Medal of Honor recipient breaks NYSE gavel

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Medal Of Honor Recipient Breaks NYSE Gavel

Former Army Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Pitts is the nation's latest Medal of Honor recipient -- making him only the ninth living person to receive the award. It can be seen on The White House's website.

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Medal of Honor recipient breaks NYSE gavel
US President Barack Obama and Ryan M. Pitts, a former active duty Army Staff Sergeant, arrive for the Medal of Honor ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 21, 2014. Staff Sergeant Pitts received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as a Forward Observer with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, during combat operations at Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, in the vicinity of Wanat Village in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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He was recently invited to ring the closing bell and pound the gavel at the New York Stock Exchange, but it seems the former soldier didn't know his own strength.

As he pounded the gavel for a third time, it broke and a piece flew away from him, shocking the crowd -- and himself.

Pitts was asked to the New York Stock Exchange in recognition of his military service. Six years ago, he battled as many as 200 enemies with his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. He joined Fox News to talk about it:

"You were to the point where every American was injured or dead. You were alone," a Fox News anchor said to Pitts.

"Yup ... I think about them every day, and probably especially so on that day," Pitts replied.

At one point, Pitts was the only living soldier left at his post. He threw grenades and finally used a grenade launcher to hit the enemy not far away. President Obama quoted a teammate who said without Pitts, the post would have been overrun.

The Daily Beast spoke with another Medal of Honor recipient, Dakota Meyer, who admitted what it takes to get the medal can be haunting.

"What most guys have is the guilt, the frustration, the anger of what happened over there. Guys you lost, brothers and sisters that fell over there next to you, and you made it home. Just the guilt of it. Knowing that you'll never be able to talk to them again."

Pitts says he continued on the battlefield the way he did to honor those who fought until their last breaths. He says he felt he owed it to them.

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