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June 29, 2019 - 10:33am

Video: David Bellavia Medal of Honor Week in Washington, D.C.

posted by Howard B. Owens in David Bellavia, Medal of Honor, video.
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My trip to Washington, D.C., to witness David Bellavia receiving the Medal of Honor and be inducted into the Hall of Heroes at the Pentagon is the highlight of my journalism career.

Yes, it was a great experience to visit the White House (I'll answer the question many people have asked, "Did you meet the president?" No.) and the Pentagon, and it was an honor to see Bellavia receive the Medal of Honor. But in going to these events, what I didn't expect was how meaningful it would be to meet the men who served with Bellavia in Fallujah, Iraq. I got to see firsthand their love for each other and hear their stories and speak to several of them individually.

It was a special honor and pleasure to meet and speak with Colin Fitts, Maj. Joaquin Meno, and Sgt. John Bandy.

On Tuesday night, I was able to attend a party at a private residence in D.C. with the men of Bellavia's platoon. I was there when Meno made a toast to their fallen comrades. And though I took no pictures, made no recording, it's a moment I'll never forget.  

One of the highlights of the trip -- and there many -- was hanging out with Michael Ware, a legendary combat journalist. We spent a lot of time together and he helped me with my coverage. My interview with him figures prominently in this video.

I hope the video gives you a good sense of what took place in Washington over four days and provides you with a better sense of what happened in Fallujah on Nov. 10, 2004. The video doesn't just cover the main events -- the Medal of Honor ceremony and Hall of Heroes ceremony -- both of which were open to the press; but also the events I attended as a guest of David's while other media were excluded, primarily the reception in the ballroom of the hotel on Monday night and the reception in the White House after the Medal of Honor ceremony.

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