BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It is not easy to feel the true grit of war unless experienced firsthand.
Batavia native David Bellavia is not only out to convey some of that experience through his book "House to House," but possibly an upcoming movie.
According to Bellavia, "War is ghastly and horrific, but we find things to come out of combat that we would never expect and love and sacrifice."
Bellavia, an Iraq and Kosovo veteran, enlisted in the U.S. Army back during July 1999 and more recently has attempted to convey the anguish and the sense of comradery associated with the battlefield. He recounts his part in the Second Battle of Fallujah, when his troop was assigned to clear 12 buildings of insurgents, only to end up in a room full of explosives and not being able to use his rifle.
"I feel that my responsibility is to let you know that there's a kid named James Madison, who grew up in western New York and who gave his life, who saw the enemy, and knew he may lose his life, but fired to protect his brothers and sisters. That story has to be told everyday that I walk this earth," Bellavia said.
In many ways, he has moved on from his days in Iraq, but still wrangles with the experience.
"I don't know why I'm here and they're not. It makes no sense to me, but everyday I live my life I'm going to live for what they died for."
And Bellavia now hopes that the written version of his story will become a movie.
"Iraq films have done horribly in the past and now we've seen a few Navy Seals movies come out. I'm thinking we're away from Iraq enough to kind of look back and get the politics out of it and focus on the stories. I challenge anyone to find what happened in Fallujah, and find better stories of Marines, Airmen, and Sailors. This was a battle that brought the whole military together."
Producer Rich Middlemas, who has been tapped for the movie, won an Academy Award for the feature movie "Undefeated," about the first winning season for a Memphis High School football team.
"Rich Middlemas was a guy who always talked about wanting to make it for them, for my friends."
So the next step?
"It's to attach an actor and find a director and do all the things that Hollywood people do."
News 4's Mike Cejka I couldn't help but wonder who Bellavia would like to play his role in the movie.
"I'm in no control over this, so you know, Brad Pitt, maybe he could do it," grinned Bellavia.
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