Hundreds ride to Gainesville to honor Medal of Honor recipients

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Patriot guard riders and police and fire departments escorted 17 Medal of Honor recipients from DFW Airport to Gainesville on Wednesday to honor them.

The annual motorcade escorted the special guests, who are Medal of Honor recipients both local and from around the country.

The group will be treated to a weekend of events in Gainesville to honor their service.

Tony Fields is a veteran himself. He talked about why he feels this is such an important event to honor veterans.

"I spent six years in the Marine Corps. We're coming out here today to honor the generations before us that paved the way for our country to be what it is,” Fields said. “And I think it's important for us as a nation to honor them and remember their sacrifices. And this is just a very small part of what we can do as Americans to show that we remember."

The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military honor. It's given for personal acts of valor for those who go above and beyond the call of duty.

Air Force veteran Bill Pratt stood alongside more than two dozen others on an overpass in Roanoke to honor the men who have been awarded the American military's highest honor.

“It's an important thing,” he said.  “And I would do something like this every chance I get."

For nearly two decades, 58 of the 71 still-living recipients of the prestigious award have been honored in Gainesville.

Vietnam Veteran Doyce Clark waved as they passed by.

“The military, especially the veterans, we just don't honor them enough. We don't,” he said. “And we, as Americans, need to honor our veterans a lot more."

Heather Ales brought her two children to see the motorcade.

“We have a family legacy of military service,” she said. “So it's important to me that they understand and has an appreciation for them."

“I hope they see how proud America is of them and how we really love and care about them,” Clark said.

The Medal of Honor recipients will have a dinner, a parade, a banquet and a chance to share their stories with school children in Gainesville over the next several days.