In the Community
The community of Gainesville, Cooke County, and North Texas keep the history of Camp Howze alive for future generations. Many of the people who were part of the Camp Howze community continued to live their lives in this region, often leaving descendants. Many people in the community actively organize and participate in events that celebrate the history of World War II and Camp Howze. These range from Veterans' Day parades to memorial dedication ceremonies. These events bring community attention to the impact made by those who served at Camp Howze.
Other ways that the memory of Camp Howze is kept alive by the North Texas community is through monuments and memorials. These permanent physical structures not only honor veterans but continue to introduce new people to the history of Camp Howze and those who served there.
Monuments and Memorials
Some history is preserved in physical items and artifacts. These items serve as a tangible reminder of the history that takes place around us. The city of Gainesville is home to several of these pieces of history in the built enviornment, one of them being the Texas State Historical Marker placed at the site of where Camp Howze used to be.
Texas State Historical Marker
Cooke County Historical Commission sent in the application for the state historical marker and it was officially approved by the Texas Historical Commission in 1982. The marker was dedicated on August 17, 1982, the 40th anniversary of the opening of the camp. The dedication ceremony honored World War II veterans from the community and served to educate the audience about the history of Camp Howze.
"A Call to Duty" statue
"A Call to Duty" is a statue that was planned and executed by the 103rd Infantry Division. Veterans of the division spend nearly a decade working to make it a reality. This monument honors the service of all combat veterans of the 103rd and is located at the TxDOT Travel Information Center in Gainesville. Since the monument is located at the Travel Information Center, the first exposure to the history of the 103rd Infantry Division and Camp Howze to travelers is through this monument.
In addition to the "A Call to Duty" statue standing at the TxDOT Travel Information Center, a smaller memorial for all three divisions that trained at Camp Howze was placed at the gateway of the Gainesville Municipal Airport. This memorial highlights the three infantry divisions that trained at Camp Howze: the 84th, 86th, and 103rd Infantry Divisions. Like the Travel Information Center, the Gainesville Municipal Airport also welcomes many newcomers to the area, who are then exposed to the history of the different infantry divisions that trained at Camp Howze.
Plaque for 103rd Division on UNT Veteran's Wall
Many of the men who were enlisted into active duty during World War II were college students. This plaque honors UNT students who were part of the 103rd Infantry Division and were killed in action. Due to the location of this plaque, many UNT students pass by and view this Veteran's wall where they can be introduced to the importance of the 103rd Infantry Division.
Veterans who served in the 84th, 86th, and 103rd Infantry Divisions gathered together for reunion events in the decades following the war. These reunions served to connect veterans in order to share their war and life experiences, honor the memories of those who died in action, as well as to organize memorial events. The 84th Railsplitters Association has a website that lists their events, including annual reunions and cookouts. The 84th Railsplitters Association is still active and holds several events to honor the memory and service of the 84th Infantry Division. The 86th Infantry Division also held reunion events, including one in 1990 in Tennessee. The 86th Blackhawk Division met in the same year to donate artifacts to the Rockford Museum Center in Tennessee for a World War II exhibit. The 103rd Infantry Division Association of World War II was very active in the years after the war in organization reunion events, and was heavily involved in the planning and development of the "A Call to Duty" monument in Gainesville for almost a decade. After the monument was built, 103rd Infantry Division veterans would gather together to visit the monument and honor their fallen brethren. (Listen to Joe and Mary McMahon talk about their experiences with the 103rd Infantry Division Association of World War II).
Anniversary, Dedication, and Commemorative Events
August 17, 1982 -- Texas State Historical Marker Dedication and 40th anniversary of the activation of Camp Howze
September 12-14, 1991 -- "Camp Howze Days," a three-day memorial celebration, hosted by the city of Ganiesville, that consisted of various events to honor the memory of Camp Howze. This includes dances, parades, exhibits, theatre productions, and the dedication of the Camp Howze memorial marker, that presently resides at the Gainesville Municipal Airport.
June 30, 1997 -- Memorial event for unveling of plaque honoring 10 North Texas State Teachers College (today known as University of North Texas) students who were killed in action during WWII
December 7, 2002 -- "Camp Howze Holidays," a day-long commemorative celebration, hosted by the city of Gainesville, filled with numerous events honoring the memory of Camp Howze while also enjoying the holidays.
November 11, 2006 -- "A Call to Duty" dedication ceremony and reunion of the 103rd Infantry Division.
September 30- October 1, 2016 -- "History Alive Weekend 2016," was an educational and interactive weekend filled with events, created by Camp Howze MVPA, to entertain the public while also teaching about World War II and Camp Howze.