Gainesville Medal of Honor events kick off Thursday

Apr. 20—Gainesville's annual Medal of Honor celebrations kickoff Thursday at the city's municipal airport.

The celebration will be three days this year, instead of four. It kicks off with the arrival of the recipients at the airport between 5-5:30 p.m. Thursday. The public is encouraged as always to line the motorcade route from DFW airport up Interstate 35 to the exit at U.S. 82 and west to the airport.

People can greet medal recipients and partake in other festivities there, followed by the annual Patriot Dinner in one of the airport's hangars. Dinner attendees will need tickets.

Event chairman and Gainesville Mayor Tommy Moore promised there will be a "cool" surprise for everyone at the airport, thanks to the U.S. Army.

"We've taken our arrival and our Patriot Dinner, and we've rolled those together," said Moore. "For people that don't have tickets to the Patriot Dinner, there'll be food trucks available for them to purchase food if they so wish."

Friday will be busy. There's a visit to Gainesville Junior High scheduled for 8:30 a.m., followed by a trek along the nearby Medal of Honor walking trail. Medal of Honor officials will show off the (nearly) complete museum on the North Central Texas College campus at 11:30 a.m., followed by a lunch break. The annual banquet is set for that night in the NCTC gymnasium.

Saturday's schedule will change a bit. The annual parade kicks off at 10 a.m. along California Street in downtown Gainesville — over 50 entries are confirmed thus far and Moore said they would

take last minute entrants like always. The book signing ceremony has moved up to noon Saturday and over to the Stanford House, 401. W. Garnett St., due to ongoing renovations to the Gainesville Civic Center.

Moore is still contacting recipients about attending this year, but he expects the visitors to be familiar faces.

"Well, as of right now, we have six recipients coming. They've all been here before," Moore said.

To learn more about the Medal of Honor Host City Program, go to https:// medalofhonorhostcity. com/. Tickets to the April 25 Patriot Dinner can be purchased at the Gainesville Civic Center during regular business hours, and from 5-6 p.m. Mondays before the Medal of Honor meetings at the civic center.