Gainesville Daily Register
The Gainesville Parks & Recreation Department is sponsoring the annual Veteran’s Day Commemoration, set for Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Cooke County Veterans War Memorial in Leonard Park.
And prior to this main celebration, a special screening of “Doughboy,” a patriotic-themed feature, begins at 1:30 p.m. at State Theater, 200 E. California St. Admission is free but any donations accepted will benefit the Medal of Honor Park project currently in development by city officials.
The main Leonard Park program begins at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature a large fireworks display, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) color guard and patriotic music, and is free and open to the public. The local VFW Post #1922 and the Ladies Auxiliary will host a free barbecue dinner in the park pavilion after the program.
This year’s guest speaker is Cooke County Sheriff Mike Compton. Mike was born and raised in Dallas, where he graduated high school from W.H. Adamson. He attended Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets.
Mike enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1964. From 1966 to 1968, he served with Kilo Battery 1st Battalion 11th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps with the rank of Sergeant (E-5) in June 1968.
In August 1968, Compton entered the Texas Highway Patrol Academy in Austin. Upon graduation in December of that year he was assigned to duty in Tarrant County. In the early spring of 1973, Compton transferred to Cooke County.
Compton retired from the Texas Highway Patrol in 1995, and was subsequently elected to the office of sheriff taking office on Jan. 1, 1997. He has served in the capacity for four terms and will retire after 16 years on Dec. 31, 2012.
In addition to Compton’s guest appearance, the commemoration will include an address by Gainesville Mayor Jim Goldsworthy, special patriotic music selections from the Gainesville High School Choir as well as Lori Hart, a fly-over of the North American T-6 Texan airplanes and a spectacular fireworks display.
As a reminder, the portion of U.S. Highway 51 in front of the veterans memorial will close at approximately 5:15 p.m. prior to the fireworks exhibition.
Guests are encouraged to come early if they plan to park inside the Leonard Park confines.
“Doughboy” focuses on a self-centered teenager who learns lessons about respect and patriotism after defacing a war memorial statue and being forced to perform community service at a veteran’s hospital.