MEDINA — Medal of Honor recipient David Bellavia will appear Monday at a village business.
Bellavia will 7 p.m. appear at Author’s Note, Medina’s independent bookstore, to sign his new book “Remember the Ramrods.”
“Remember the Ramrods” details the history of Bellavia’s Army unit that fought together in Iraq, including where the soldiers’ lives took them after they returned home from war, and how reuniting when one of them received the Medal of Honor helped heal some of their still-present if less visible wounds of war.
Bellavia served in an infantry battalion known as The Ramrods — 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. The fought and helped in 2004 to win the Battle of Fallujah, the bloodiest episode of the Iraq War.
Bellavia single-handedly cleared a fortified enemy position that had pinned down a squad from his platoon on Nov. 10, 2004. Fourteen years later, he got a call from the president of the United States: He had been awarded a Medal of Honor and would receive America’s highest award for bravery in combat in a ceremony at the White House.
The news was not welcome, event organizers said in a news release.
Bellavia had put the war behind him, created a quiet life for himself and lost touch with most of his fellow Ramrods, who were once like brothers to him. Their first gathering as a unit after the war was at Bellavia’s medal ceremony, for six days in Washington, DC.
As they revisited what they had seen and done in battle and revealed to each other their journeys back into civilian life, they discovered that the bonds had not been broken by time, organizer said. A decoration for one became a healing event for all.
Bellavia is the first and only living Iraq veteran to receive the Medal of Honor for active duty in the Iraq War. The medal commends his efforts that saved the lives of his unit members.
He served in three military campaigns: Kosovo 2003 and Operation Iraqi Freedom I and Operation Iraqi Freedom II. He returned to Iraq as an embedded reporter covering heavy fighting in 2006 and 2008, and in 2007 wrote and published “House to House,” a book detailing his experiences in Fallujah.
Bellavia is a Western New York native. He is a 1994 graduate of Lyndonville High School in Orleans County and studied biology and theater at the University of Buffalo.
He now serves as a radio presenter and public speaker nationwide.
The Monday evening signing at Author’s Note is free and open to the public. Bellavia will only sign books purchased at the store.
Given the anticipated turnout, purchasing and reserving books in advance is recommended. Those unable to attend may also purchase books in advance to be personalized.