Medal of Honor recipient to lead Texas Veterans Parade

Former Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Donald E. Ballard, Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient, shakes the hand of Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Jones, 136th Airlift Wing, Texas Air National Guard during the annual MOH parade held at Gainesville, Texas, the Host City for MOH, April 9, 2011.


By CORSICANA DAILY SUN Published: March 12, 2020

CORSICANA, Texas (Tribune News Service) — The Texas Veterans Parade recently announced Medal of Honor recipient Donald E. Ballard as Grand Marshal of 2020 Texas Veterans Parade.

The parade is set for Saturday, May 16, on the brick streets of downtown Corsicana.

The night before the Parade, Ballard will be the honored guest and speaker at the annual Medal of Honor Banquet to be held at the Cook Education Center at Navarro College.

This year's Medal of Honor banquet will start at 6:30 pm Friday, May 15, and the parade will start at the Navarro County Courthouse at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 16. The Corsicana Air Show at Dave Campbell Field will start at noon, following the parade.

Congress determined that the third Saturday each May is Armed Forces Day in America.

In 1968, Donald “Doc” Ballard was rendering medical combat aid to a wounded Marine, when a North Vietnamese soldier hurled a hand grenade that landed near him and five other men. With unflinching determination, Ballard shouted a warning to the Marines and threw himself upon the lethal explosive device to protect his comrades from the deadly blast.

President Richard Nixon presented him with the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony two years later.

"Corsicana and Navarro County have a special and unique military history from the Texas revolution to the War on Terror,” Ballard said. “It will be an honor to come and share my story with fellow history-loving patriots in May."

“Think how meaningful it would have been for our grandparents if they had met a Revolutionary War soldier," said Bill McNutt, Parade Founder. "Consider how special it would have been for our parents to meet a Civil War veteran. It is an incredible opportunity that you and I have the chance to spend an evening with a Medal of Honor recipient!"

The Texas Veterans Parade, founded in 2018, has the following mission: "To educate children about liberty and freedom, and to honor Texas Veterans of all wars and conflicts."

Last year's Grand Marshall was 99 years old Fiske Hanley, who was shot down on his seventh combat mission over Japan in March of 1945.

Parade Co-Chairman, retired Navy Captain Joe Hill told the Daily Sun, "the parade committee has reached out to over 50 organizations encouraging their participation in the parade. Other groups and individuals are encouraged to join in the festive event. Floats, vintage military vehicles, veterans groups, bands, youth groups, cars, horse riders, school groups – all are welcome to participate. Registration is free and the registration forms are available on the parade website: www.texasveteransparade.com

©2020 the Corsicana Daily Sun (Corsicana, Texas)
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Donald E. Ballard.

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