Memorial Day Observances held at Eastlawn, Veterans Memorial


At Monday’s Memorial Day service at Veterans Park, the Central Texas Veterans Association honored Brownwood native S.J. “Skipper” Howard Jr. Before World War II Howard was a football star at Daniel Baker College here in Brownwood, and also played professional football and baseball. When the war broke out, he joined the Army Air Corps and became a pilot of glider aircraft. As such he was involved in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. He also saw action in Holland, the Rhine Valley, southern France, and northern Italy.

Howard’s daughter Gloria Howard Bold, who grew up in Brownwood and now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, attended and was presented a U.S. flag in memory of her father, by U.S. Navy Admiral (Ret.) Jeff Lemmons. She commented: “It’s just such an honor to be able to be here and see my dad honored along with so many other veterans of the war. The turnout was unbelievable and I did not know so many from here have been honored. This particular area, this park, is a great tribute. Brownwood should be proud to have this. I haven’t ever seen, in other places we’ve lived, something on this large scale, honoring their veterans, except in Washington D.C. I will never forget this.”

A plaque honoring Skipper Howard has been placed in Veterans Park. The text of the plaque is below.

Keynote speaker for the event was Navy Commander Chaplain (Ret.) Jim Looby. He explained why on Memorial Day we honor and remember those who gave their lives for our country. Some of his remarks:

We the People. Did you hear what I said? We the People. And with these immortal words, has come upon the world a statement that speaks of the standards under which we as a people will live, we will conduct ourselves, and we will teach future generations. But in order for such lofty principles to succeed, We the People will have to want it. We the People will have to pay for it. We the People will have to stand and determine whether or not this is what we will do, this is how we will do what we have said. Are we willing to go and stand for the values of the Constitution? Are we willing to allow our children to go and defend the standards of the Constitution? Will we stand with our neighbor when they go to stand for the Constitution?…

The men and women that we memorialize and we remember this morning all took that very same oath, that vow. It unites us. It brings us together to preserve, to protect, to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, any enemy, foreign or domestic. Ladies and Gentlemen this is why you are here today…

We have come for one reason this morning. We have come to honor our dead. We have come also to care for our wounded. We promise to support our troops. We rally beneath the banner that represents the Constitution of the United States: the red, the white, the blue. Old Glory. The stars and stripes. Ladies and Gentlemen we are patriots. Ladies and Gentlemen we honor patriots. We bond as patriots. Ladies and Gentlemen we are Americans!”

Text of the plaque honoring S.J. “Skipper” Howard:



S.J. “Skipper” Howard Jr. was born on 15 November 1913. He is a member of the Daniel Baker College Hillbilly Hall of Honor. Daniel Baker College was a Presbyterian college founded in Brownwood in 1889. Daniel Baker College consolidated with Howard Payne University in 1953. At Daniel Baker College, Skipper was a triple threat back and the most feared athlete in the conference. We was an All-American punter and had over a dozen punts over 70 yards. He was team captain in 1936. Skipper was also a consensus All-Conference selection. In 1937 he was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles as a punter and quarterback. He spent a summer pitching in the St. Louis Brown’s system for the Texas Oilers. He coached at Daniel Baker College in 1939 before volunteering for military service. In World War II, Skipper served in the Army Air Corps as a Captain and glider pilot squadron Commander in the elite Special Forces Glider Corps that played a major role in the Allied invasion of Europe. His glider squadron was vital in the Normandy landing at Utah Beach, Northern Italy, Southern France, Holland, and the Rhine Valley. He was awarded seven Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, Bronze Arrowhead for the Normandy invasion, Air Medal with two Oakleaf Clusters, Distinguished Unit Citation Badge, and the European-African-Middle East Campaign medal. Skipper was honored as Brownwood’s Outstanding Young Man in 1946. He received the Gold Key Award from the Brownwood Junior Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Brownwood Kiwanis Club, was a Shriner, and was a Steward at Brownwood First United Methodist Church. He died from cancer on 3 December 1971 at the age of 58.


At Eastlawn Memorial Park in Early Monday morning, Lt. Col. James Masters with VFW Post 3278 served as the keynote speaker shared the history of Memorial Day with those in attendance.

I stand before you on this proud day of remembrance asking you to join me, not in only remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of this great nation, but in truly reflecting in their legacy. There has been no other nation on earth whose sacrifice has been greater than ours. Nowhere in the pages of history has their been a country before ours that has paid a higher price for the freedom of others around the globe. The lives of our fallen patriots – our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, our sisters, our comrades – were not lives lost in vain or anguish. Their loss has contributed to an evolution of America that we know today – a free nation, a strong nation that stands with the tallest, and we stand together.”

Gold Star Families – those who lost a loved one in service to our country – were recognized and Taps was performed by Keith King prior to the close of ceremonies.