One of those recipients is former Army Staff Sergeant Walter Ehlers, a World War II veteran. He spoke at the Pritzker Military Library Thursday.
Ehlers, 90, fought in Africa, Sicily and then stormed Normandy Beach. He pushed his men to move forward on the beach -and his heroism earned him the nation's highest military honor.
Ehler's older brother was killed during the invasion when a German shell struck his landing craft. Ehlers called his brother his hero.
"He paid the supreme sacrifice. He laid his life on the line going down that ship. He didn't know he was gonna get hit. You don't know those things. You can be the best soldier in the world, and get killed," he said.