HOUSTON The Battleship Texas will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its commissioning in March with a reunion of its final crew and a public festival at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Site.
The Battleship Texas Foundation, working in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is organizing the two events with the reunion being held on March 12 and the festival on March 15.
Both events are meant honor the Battleship Texas, her history and pay tribute to the surviving crew members, who proudly served on the ship during World War II.
Commissioned on March 12, 1914, the Battleship Texas served in both world wars and is the last remaining dreadnought, or big-gun battleship.
The Battleship Texas was part of many firsts including the first U.S. battleship to launch an airplane and to house anti-aircraft guns. The battleship was awarded five Battle Stars during World War II.
On March 12, a private Centennial Ceremony honoring the returning World War II crew members will be held on the decks of the Battleship Texas at 10:30 a.m. followed by a reunion luncheon.
Commemorating the actual 100th anniversary of the ship's commissioning on March 12, 1914, the ceremony will recognize the crew members with a special tribute and medal presentation, military fanfare and a keynote speaker.
The festivities will continue on March 15 with a public, family-friendly festival featuring Robert Earl Keen's 'A Texas Uprising' at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site adjacent to the ship.
'The Battleship Texas is an enduring symbol of strength and we want to celebrate her service and honor the men who served and risked their lives for our freedom,' said Bruce Bramlett, executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation. 'Throwing the Texas a 100th commissioning celebration is the least we can do and we know it will be an incredible and memorable day for former crew members, our local community and for our state. The community has been very supportive of the celebrations and we have received generous sponsorships from multiple corporations including HEB, Exxon, Centerpoint, Patriot Bank, Vopak and many local municipalities.'
The Centennial Celebration will take place regardless of weather conditions. Pre-sale tickets are available now for $14 at battleshiptexas.org through the day of the festival or at the gate for $20. Children 12 and under are free. Discounted prices are available for veterans, $8 pre-sale and $15 at the gate. VIP ship event tickets are also available for purchase.
All proceeds raised from the Centennial Celebration will go toward preserving the ship for future generations.
To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit battleshiptexas.org
The Saturday, March 12 Centennial Celebration will also feature:
- Tours of the Battleship Texas from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- A ceremony honoring Texas crewmembers at approximately 2 p.m.
- Dedication of donated house to U.S. veteran by the Texas Sentinels Organization
- TPWD interactive booths for all ages
- World War II vintage aircraft flyovers
- Historical zones highlighting World War I and World War II including military artifacts
- Battleship Texas Walk of History
- Local restaurants and gourmet food trucks
- Fireworks display at closing
Headlining musical entertainment will feature:
- 12:30 to 2 p.m. Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison
- 3 to 4:30 p.m. Charlie Robison
- 5:30 to 7 p.m. Reckless Kelly
- 8 to 9:30 p.m. Robert Earl Keen