Medal of Honor Weekend begins in Gainesville

By: Daniel Gotera Email
By: Daniel Gotera Email

GAINESVILLE, Tex. -- The city of Gainesville is recognizing soldiers who have received the country's highest military honor. In fact, it's the only city in the entire country to do so. Medal of Honor Weekend kicked off Thursday in Gainesville as award recipients shared their experiences with students from across the county. Daniel Gotera has more.

It was over 65 years ago that Pearl Harbor was attacked, killing more than 2,300 soldiers and bringing the united states into World War II.

It was a war former marine Hershel Williams remembers well. Williams wants to make sure future generations never forget.

"We’re not teaching enough history in our school, and this is an opportunity that we can communicate with some of our youth and give them some idea that our freedom cost a tremendous price," Williams said.

Williams talked about that price Thursday at North Central Texas College in Gainesville. He and two other veterans, including 98-year old John Finn, spoke to a group of students from Muenster Sacred Heart School about everything from the war to life after it.

"I thought it was good. I mean, what an honor, you get the oldest veteran that has received the Medal of Honor. I mean, what else could you get?" Muenster Sacred Heart junior Michael Whitecotton said.

"I thought it was really neat. All those people, they're such dynamic people. I really enjoyed it." senior Lauren Sepanski added.

Officials with the Medal of Honor host city program say younger generations are disconnected from the military, past and present. They hope this event will inspire interest in our country's history and these men who helped shape it.

"To get these younger people to meet and listen to the stories that these men tell, we think is important for patriotism, and it lets them know that freedom is in fact not free." Medal of Honor Host City Program president Mike McHorse said.

Thursday's talk was one of many activities planned for the next couple of days, including a parade and banquet Saturday night. Williams says he will never forget his time in the military, and he is glad to see his efforts are being remembered by others.

"I think its a wonderful thing and I’d like to see other cities pick up from this and let Gainesville be a role model for other cities to do this sort of thing."

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