GAINESVILLE, TX -- It's the highest honor of valor bestowed on our nation's heroes. 3,460 servicemen have received the Medal of Honor -- only 80 of them are still alive today. For 12 years the city of Gainesville has gone to great lengths to honor the recipients.
One by one, Medal of Honor recipients from across the U.S. were greeted by Gainesville residents, city leaders and law enforcement officials as they stepped off the plane and onto Texas soil.
"I think it's one of the most honorable things that I could do for these gentlemen who fought for us," volunteer Leslie Nichols said.
During Medal of Honor week, city of Gainesville honors those who have received this most prestigious military award. 14 of these men will spend the next three days in the city.
"It's very humbling to see. I'm just a low key, you know, a low-key guy in a very small town in North Carolina. So, when I see all the hub bub that's made over the recipients, it's very moving and it's very inspiring and it's very humbling," U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Walter "Joe" Marm Jr. said.
Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha is the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient. The 32-year-old was awarded his medal just two months ago for his honorable duty while fighting in Afghanistan.
"I'm really excited to see this whole experience and to be in the same room as some of these, you know, some of these other great heroes and to just get kind of that old advice from what they've already seen and done" he said.
Residents of each city along the way from DFW to Gainesville lined I-35, waving and saluting the mile long motorcade, led by Patriot Guard riders.
This is the fifth time Cpl. Duane Dewey has ridden in this motorcade, and he is always touched by the response.
"It's always very awesome. And just to see all these people along the road and on overpasses and so forth and so on, and the fire trucks and American flags," Cpl. Dewey said.
Each recipient's story is different, but they say they're a part of a brotherhood and Medal of Honor week brings them together to share their experiences.
"It's a reunion for us to get together and have the comradery and the friendship and the brotherhood. But, more meaningfully, it's an opportunity to get in to the communities and meet with the school kids and the community leaders, and you know, share with them our values. And they're very receptive here. It's the most patriotic city in America," Corpsman Second Class Don Ballard said.
The recipients will take part in many activities throughout the rest of this week. Many are open to the public. We've posted a link to the schedule below.