Medal of Honor recipients welcomed in Gainesville

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GAINESVILLE, Texas (KXII) -- Thousands of people gathered in Gainesville to welcome Medal of Honor recipients as they arrived Wednesday.

A total of 14 medal of honor recipients will be recognized this week in Gainesville.

They came from all over the country and this afternoon they arrived in the city to kick off the celebration.

Wednesday the City of Gainesville, also known as the medal of honor host city, welcomed more than a dozen medal of honor recipients as they traveled from Fort Worth to Gainesville.

And hundreds of grateful residents waited eagerly at Gainesville High School until they arrived.

"All the kids are out there waving their flags and the fire departments are out with the water cannons."

Don "Doc" Ballard, a Vietnam veteran who started this program 15 years ago, says this year's motorcade is nothing like the first one Gainesville ever held.

"We threw the very first one and there was only one recipient that showed up and it was me."

But after years of doing this, thousands of people have made Gainesville a destination this time of year.

"The program just kind of took off. Like the first parade I think we had four vehicles in it. Now it's an all day event and we got the community that turns out and supports us."

And while hundreds of events like this are held across the Nation each year, Gainesville is the only city in the United States that celebrates the military's highest honor recipients.

Charles Hagemeister says this is his first year being a part of the week long event.

"A patriotic city is something that we need to have in this country. And so this is important to see a city that's doing patriotic stuff. It really makes you feel good."

All fourteen medal of honor recipients will be in Gainesville until Saturday, when the week long event comes to an end with a parade.

For a list of events, visit the link posted on this article.

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