It was another moment of celebration of Western New Yorker and Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia in Buffalo's City Hall Tuesday.
The Common Council and Mayor, in separate ceremonies, marked June 25, 2019 as "David Bellavia Day," the date this year when he was presented with the Medal of Honor. Bellavia received the nation's highest military decoration earlier this year, in recognition of actions which saved the lives of his comrades during a firefight in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.
So how does it feel having a day named for you?
"It's a little obnoxious, I'll be honest with you," he replied with a gentle laugh. "Going around the country, even I'm getting a little sick of me. But no, that's a really humble, beautiful thing."
It has also been an exhausting several months for Bellavia. Since receiving the Medal of Honor, he has traveled throughout the nation on a recruitment mission for the US Army. He has thrown ceremonial first pitches at Major League Baseball games. This past Veterans' Day, he was among veterans in the studio audience called out and praised by NBC Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon.
Coming back to Buffalo, though, was special.
"I used to come into this building as a Private to pull birth certificates for people going in the Army," Bellavia recalled. "I didn't know anybody. I was the lowest rank. And every time I walked through City Hall, everybody treated me with respect. Everyone thanked me for my service, before 9/11. This is what Buffalo is all about. They treat their veterans very well and the City of Buffalo should be very proud."
But there's little rest for the Army Staff Sergeant. Bellavia will soon be back on his recruitment tour, making stops in Houston, Dallas and Orlando.