New York City honors Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia at City Hall

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019
New York City honors Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia at City Hall
Michelle Charlesworth reports on the retired Army Staff Sergeant who has been awarded the nation's highest military honor.

WASHINGTON (WABC) -- Iraq war hero and native New Yorker David Bellavia was honored at a special ceremony at City Hall Tuesday.

The retired Army Staff Sergeant was awarded the nation's highest military honor -- the Medal of Honor -- by President Donald Trump last week.

He is the first living Iraq War veteran to receive the honor.

Bellavia risked his own life to save members of his unit that were trapped by insurgents in Fallujah.

Bellavia was leading a squad in support of Operation Phantom Fury in November 2004. After helping his platoon escape fire, he entered a house and killed at least four insurgents who were firing rocket-propelled grenades.

Bellavia, who left the Army in 2005, has been awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross.

On Tuesday, he said he did what any other soldier would do -- leave no man behind.

Bellavia insisted that you don't have to be soldier to serve our country.

"Serve in any way whatsoever," he said. "Represent your community, represent your country. America is worthy of any sacrifice. Our rights that we have. We own our mistakes. We are always pushing forward to be a better country and a better people."

Watch the full ceremony:

Bellavia comes from a family of heroes. His grandfather fought in the Battle or Normandy in 1944 and was awarded the Bronze Star.

He ran for Congress in 2012, losing to Rep. Chris Collins in the Republican primary, and was talked about as a potential successor to Collins when Collins temporarily suspended his reelection campaign last summer after being indicted on insider trading charges. Bellavia's name is in play again as Collins, whose trial is pending, considers whether to run in 2020.

This is the ninth Medal of Honor that Trump has presented. The honor goes to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report)


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