Gainesville pays tribute to Medal of Honor Soldiers - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Gainesville pays tribute to Medal of Honor Soldiers

Posted: Updated:

GAINESVILLE, TEXAS--The city of Gainesville is paying tribute to veterans who earned a Medal of Honor.  It's the only city in the United States to host such an event.

Honorees are a part of the events happening all week.  The men are taking time out of their day to visit schools to share history they say cannot be found inside history books.  "Gainesville has done a great job in making its community aware of the medal's history and the military that we want to impart on the youth of our country," says Medal of Honor recipient Don "Doc" Ballard.

This week the city is making sure our Country's heroes are never forgotten.   If you want to be a part of the upcoming events, the schedule is listed below.

Receiving a medal of this caliber is the highest honor given by the United States government.

Christina Lusby, Reports.

Tuesday, April 6
Travel day for the Recipients who will arrive at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and be welcomed at the USO canteen where they will meet servicemen and women departing for or returning from war zones in the Middle East.

As many as 200 Patriot Guard Rider motorcyclists, each flying a large American flag, will escort the Recipients' limousine to Gainesville.

Wednesday, April 7
The first day of activities for the Recipients will include a visit to the Morton Museum, tours of the local historical sites, including former WWII U.S. Army Camp Howze where tens of thousands of troops trained for the invasion of Europe.

Recipients will meet with city workers for lunch and that evening with a group of youth involved in 4-H, Scouting, and the FFA.

Thursday, April 8
Students from throughout Cooke County will be able to hear several of the Recipients speak in school forums to be held at the First State Bank Center for the Performing Arts on the North Central Texas College (NCTC) campus. The sessions will start at 9:30 and 10:15 am.

The recipients will be honored with a special program at Lee Elementary School at 1:00 pm.

An evening barbeque dinner and social hour, open to the public, will be held starting at 6:30 pm at the NCTC field house. Tickets are $15.00 each.

Friday, April 9
A second round of NCTC student forum sessions will start at 9:00 am and 10:15 am.

10:00 am - 5:00 pm - The public is invited to attend a new event, the Living Military Time Line Display at Moffet Park. This event features historical U.S. military uniforms, firearms, and equipment.

Starting at 2:00 pm, the public is invited to attend a ceremony at Gainesville's Homegrown Hero Walking Trail which commemorates the visit of each Recipient by planting a Red Oak tree fronted by an engraved granite plaque personalized for each honored guest.

The Medal of Honor Banquet will begin at 6:00 pm at the Gainesville Civic Center with former Fox News journalist John Gibson serving as the Master of Ceremonies; the dinner program starts at 7:00 pm.

All tickets for the Medal of Honor Weekend banquet will go on sale February 17th.

Saturday, April 10
The public is encouraged to attend the Medal of Honor Weekend Parade, the largest in county history, which will get underway promptly at 10:00 am. The parade route is east on W California Street from Rusk to Lindsay Boulevard.

The public is invited to a Recipient book signing and autograph session starting at 1:30 pm at the Gainesville Civic Center.

Living Military Time Display - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm - Moffett Park - Featuring historical U.S. military uniforms, firearms, and equipment.

The Recipients will depart Sunday, April 11.

All tickets for the Medal of Honor Weekend banquet will go on sale February 17th.

Program founder, Don Pettigrew, said that due to the exceedingly high demand for tickets and the limited space in the Gainesville City Civic Center, the process will be different this year.

Those interested in purchasing tickets are limited to a 10-seat table ($250) or an eight-seat Recipient table ($500) in an effort to increase availability of the limited seating. Individual tickets remain at $25.00.

More than a dozen recipients are expected to attend, yielding the same number of Recipient tables for purchase.

Tickets go on sale 1-3 pm Wednesday, February 17, and Thursday - Saturday, February 18-20, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm at the Gainesville Civic Center.

Tickets must be picked up and paid for in person and cannot be held without payment -- cash, check, Visa, or Mastercard.

Tables can be selected on a first-come, first-served basis and the names of all guests must be provided.

Pettigrew stated that this is the fairest process possible and given the demand for tickets, ease of seating to ensure there are no empty seats. He added that the banquet has sold out every year.

Area residents will have several opportunities to meet the Recipients during the four days of scheduled activities which will include a parade, barbecue sandwich dinner, autograph signing and tree planting.

For further information, contact 668-4530.