Medal of Honor recipients arrive for annual event in Gainesville

Published: Apr. 4, 2018 at 10:24 PM CDT
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Hundreds of people came out to Gainesville Wednesday to welcome the Medal of Honor recipients as they arrived for an annual celebration.

"The people, the patriotism, they're just wonderful," Medal of Honor recipient James Taylor said.

More than 40 different departments and hundreds of cyclists made up the nine-mile motorcade from DFW to Gainesville High School. It was all to honor 17 of those who've received the highest military decoration, a Medal of Honor.

"The procession coming here, the welcome that we got at the airport, it's just remarkable," Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan said.

People like Army Vietnam veteran James McCloughan.

"I was just doing my job, I did what I was supposed to do as a combat medic," McCloughan said.

McCloughan's been credited for going out 10 times to save 10 Americans and one Vietnamese interpreter during a 48-hour battle. In July, he became the first Medal of Honor recipient awarded by President Trump.

"To have my name mentioned with these men is a humbling experience," McCloughan said.

He's now welcomed into the distinguished group. Medal of Honor recipient James Taylor calls this group family.

"When you say hello to us, you're also saying hello to those who are no longer with us," Taylor said.

A Gainesville veteran came up with the idea 17 years ago, to fly in and honor the recipients. Since then, it's grown and grown.

"People hear about it, they want to be part of it," Tommy Moore said.

Program president and veteran Tommy Moore said this year is the largest turnout yet.

"There's a one in 6,000 chance you'll ever meet one. This is the only place in America you can come every year and see 14-20 Medal of Honor recipients," Moore said.

Gainesville is the only Medal of Honor host city in the nation. The recipients will be here until Saturday, touring schools and attending events until it comes to an end with a parade.

"You have to be here to experience it, it's unreal," Taylor said.