Semicentennial of Texas Independence celebrated
On this day in 1886, the Semicentennial of Texas Independence celebrations began. Scattered meetings included orations at Brenham, a ball in Fort Worth, and a small gathering of Galveston County veterans. The major events occurred on April 21--San Jacinto Day--in most Texas towns. Parades, picnics, and speeches were typical. Waco and Belton used the occasion to break ground for new college buildings. Militia drills and athletic contests were frequent attractions. The Texas Veterans Association met in Dallas for the most important single celebration of the semicentennial. More than 200 old soldiers received an elaborate welcome, which added musical presentations to the other forms of entertainment. Semicentennial speakers drew several comparisons between the Texas Revolution and the American Revolution, such as the relation of both to the growth of liberty and stable government. Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, and others were compared to the Founding Fathers. The emphasis remained, however, on honoring the living veterans.