Denton motorists today can expect delays along Interstate 35 as more than 30 law enforcement agencies and 18 fire departments honor congressional Medal of Honor recipients with a motorcade through town.
The escort will begin at 3:30 p.m. at Dallas County Community College at 2870 E. 14th St. in Irving and will follow a route along State Highway 114 to Interstate 35W, then continue northbound along I-35 to Gainesville, according to Precinct 4 Deputy Constable Douglas King.
King, an organizer of the yearly event, said the traffic blocks will be rolling, meaning that streets will reopen as soon as the motorcade passes through. He warned travelers to plan ahead and seek an alternate route if needed.
“Even access ramps will be closed,” King said. “If a motorist is along the route, we encourage them to pull over to the right-hand side of the roadway and salute, wave an American flag or put their hand on their heart. ... That’s what this is all about, to honor them [the veterans].”
The annual event honors veterans from World War II through Afghanistan. King said he has been involved with the program for six years.
“I was asked by the city of Gainesville to be a police escort and when I did some research on the recipients, I said no, I wanted to do a little more than be a police escort,” King said.
Assuming the weather cooperates, this would be the largest motorcade so far with 22 recipients being honored by nearly 700 motorcyclists, 32 law enforcement agencies from Denton, Tarrant, Cooke and Wise counties and 18 area fire departments. The longest motorcade so far has been 6 1/2 miles long, organizers said.
King, who has been working on organizing the event since mid-January, said his father was in Vietnam. King said that because of medical reasons, he couldn’t serve.
“This is my contribution to the guys that could go,” he said. “The community is giving back to them for the sacrifices made in their lives so it’s our job to provide these men the best we can give them.”
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.