The Semicentennial of Texas Independence in 1886 produced celebrations on March 2, Texas Independence Day, and on April 21, San Jacinto Day. Scattered meetings on March 2 included orations at Brenham, a ball in Fort Worth, and a small gathering of Galveston County veterans. The major events occurred on April 21 in most Texas towns. Parades, picnics, and speeches seemed typical. Waco and Belton used the occasion to break ground for new college buildings. Volunteer firemen provided leadership for many communities including Austin, Galveston, and Houston. Militia drills and athletic contests were frequent attractions. Political leaders, including Governor John Ireland, participated. 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. References to "sacred duty" were frequent, though probably less so than in discussions of the American Revolution. The emphasis remained on honoring the living veterans.