NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A celebration in Times Square was held Friday for a veteran from New York who became the first living Iraq war hero to receive the Medal of Honor.

The U.S. Army band “The Six String Soldiers” opened up the festivities – all to honor Staff Sgt. David Bellavia.

Just 10 days ago, President Trump presented him with the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in 2004.

Sgt. Bellavia receives the Medal of Honor from President Trump for his actions during the war in Iraq in 2004. (Credit: CBS2)

At his celebration, the Lyndonville, New York native encouraged others to join the U.S. Army.

“If you want purpose, if you want direction in your life, there’s no better place to find it than the U.S. Army,” Bellavia said.

“Our enemy is watching everything we do, and they are ready and we have to be ready to respond.”

Fifteen years ago, Bellavia rescued his squad and helped clear out 10 houses of insurgents during the battle of Fallujah.

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