Gold Star Family Monument
Gold Star Family Monument Ground Breaking Gainesville, Texas with Don “Doc” Ballard, Hershel “Woody” Williams, Hiroshi H. Miyamura, Terry Bradshaw
by Pippie Hull
Gold Star Family Monument Ground Breaking Gainesville, Texas breaks ground on a touching monument March 9th and 10th. There was a fundraising event Friday evening. Following was a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday morning. The Medal of Honor recipients attending the events were: Don “Doc” Ballard, Hershel “Woody” Williams and Hiroshi H. Miyamura. Attending the fundraiser event was Terry Bradshaw with an enlightening speech that delivered a message of faith, honor and duty.
First of all the city hosting these events received the honor of Most Patriotic by Rand McNally in 2012. Gainesville beat out 6 other contenders for the title. The city is as well the Medal of Honor host city. They graciously and gratefully welcome numerous Medal of Honor recipients for a week each year. Local schools and businesses anticipate visits with the recipients and hearing their stories. Near week’s end there is a dinner, a parade and a book signing. Patriotic citizens from the community and those surrounding line the parade route with applause and cheers.
Also welcoming the recipients to town was Cross Roads Baptist church. The church was the gracious host for the fundraiser event. Autographed memorabilia of “Woody” Williams and Terry Bradshaw, amongst other items, went to the highest bidders in a live auction. Moreover, the evening’s docket also included the beautiful voices of a Patriotic Choir.
Gold Star Family Monument
Ground Breaking Gainesville, Texas
Additionally, local manufacturing business Zodiac Seats, US greeted the recipients. Friday afternoon they toured the facility. Afterward, Zodiac treated them to a V.I.P. Luncheon at Gainesville’s Santa Fe Train Depot.
Then Saturday morning the recipients, their guests and local citizens gathered at Leonard Park on California Street. A line was forming at the local zoo. The laughter of children was heard at the nearby playground. The Frankie Schmitz Express Train gave parents and their kiddos rides around the park. California Street was a bustle with those heading into or out of town. Smells from the restaurants across the street began wafting into the crowd. There were smiles and laughter. There were pictures being snapped and videos being taken.
Gold Star Family Monument Ground Breaking Gainesville, Texas
Notably, there are multitudinous men and women fighting to defend our freedoms. Freedom to spend a Saturday as we please. Freedom to choose what we want to eat. Some of those service men and women do not return home. They give the ultimate sacrifice for our country leaving behind families. Fathers. Mothers. Brothers. Sisters. Uncles and aunts. Grandparents. These are Gold Star families.
Furthermore, a mission of “Woody” Williams and his Medal of Honor Foundation is ensuring that the fallen and their families are never forgotten. This is done by means of Gold Star families memorial monuments. They are erected to remember and honor a community’s fallen and their families. To date there are 31 monuments in cities across the U.S. Saturday morning “Woody” gave a heart warming speech that brought many to tears. After which family members broke ground for the city’s monument. Each member had shovels of gold to make the first movements of dirt at the site.
All in all it was two days of gratitude and patriotism extended to the Medal of Honor recipients. Thank you Gainesville, TX for your hospitality!