National Character, Leadership Symposium kicks off

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta talks with Cadet 1st Class Laura Sturdevant, right, after his keynote speech at the Air Force Academy's National Character and Leadership Symposium Feb. 24, 2011. Sergeant Giunta, the first living servicemember to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, received the medal for heroic actions in Afghanistan Oct. 25, 2007. Cadet Sturdevant is assigned to Cadet Squadron 39; also pictured are Cadets 4th Class Reynaldo Toledo and Jessica Adams of CS 19. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta talks with Cadet 1st Class Laura Sturdevant, right, after his keynote speech at the Air Force Academy's National Character and Leadership Symposium Feb. 24, 2011. Sergeant Giunta, the first living servicemember to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, received the medal for heroic actions in Afghanistan Oct. 25, 2007. Cadet Sturdevant is assigned to Cadet Squadron 39; also pictured are Cadets 4th Class Reynaldo Toledo and Jessica Adams of CS 19. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)

Dr. Adis Vila speaks about the challenges that inspired her to succeed and strengthened her character during a discussion at the Air Force Academy's National Character and Leadership Symposium Feb. 24, 2011. Dr. Vila, the Academy's chief diversity officer, is a native of Cuba and a White House Fellow. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robin Cresswell)

Dr. Adis Vila speaks about the challenges that inspired her to succeed and strengthened her character during a discussion at the Air Force Academy's National Character and Leadership Symposium Feb. 24, 2011. Dr. Vila, the Academy's chief diversity officer, is a native of Cuba and a White House Fellow. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robin Cresswell)

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta addresses the Air Force Academy Cadet Wing and guests during his keynote speech at the National Character and Leadership Symposium in Arnold Hall Feb. 24, 2011. Sergeant Guinta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War, was one of three Medal recipients to speak at the Center for Character and Leadership Development's keystone event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta addresses the Air Force Academy Cadet Wing and guests during his keynote speech at the National Character and Leadership Symposium in Arnold Hall Feb. 24, 2011. Sergeant Guinta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War, was one of three Medal recipients to speak at the Center for Character and Leadership Development's keystone event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennis Rogers)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The National Character and Leadership Symposium kicked off at the Air Force Academy Feb. 24, featuring a panel with three Medal of Honor recipients and other influential guests.

Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War, kicked off the two-day symposium in the Arnold Hall Theater at 8 a.m. A Medal of Honor panel featuring Sergeant Giunta and retired Cols. George "Bud" Day and Leo Thorsness followed the keynote speech.

Speaking in smaller forums were Dr. Adis Vila, the Academy's chief diversity officer; Chad Hennings, a 1988 Academy graduate and former Dallas Cowboys football player; Sara Bordo, founder and CEO of Women Rising and a contributor to the White House Council for Women and Girls; and Dr. Pauletta Otis, professor of security studies for the U.S. Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College.

View the slideshow.