HOUSTON — It’s a great honor for anyone fortunate enough to address one of the nation’s largest veterans’ cemeteries on Memorial Day. But for Monday’s guest speaker it’s a family matter, as five generations of Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s family lineage have served in the Armed Forces during war time.
Commissioner Patterson will be the guest speaker at the Memorial Day Service at the Houston VA National Cemetery, where both his father and grandfather are buried. The Memorial Day Service is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, at the National Cemetery.
“It’s a tremendous privilege for me to speak at the Houston National Cemetery, honoring my father, grandfather, and all who have served,” Patterson said.
The Commissioner’s father, Jerry Dan Patterson, flew in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II and during the Korean War. Patterson’s grandfather, Emmett Patterson, served in the U.S. Navy in World War I and the U.S. Army in World War II. Both men are buried at the Houston National Cemetery.
The service tradition started with Commissioner Patterson’s great-grandfather, James Monroe Cole, who served in the 12th Louisiana infantry in the War Between the States. Cole is buried in Austin.
Patterson himself was a Marine during the Vietnam War. And the latest to answer the call of duty, the Commissioner’s son, Travis Patterson, served two tours in Iraq as a Marine attack helicopter pilot and is currently stateside.
“Whether they fought abroad or served here at home, we pause to remember all men and women in uniform – and especially those who died for the freedoms we enjoy,” Patterson said. “They gave the last full measure and will always deserve our respect.”
Commissioner Patterson will share the stage with the Mayor of Houston, Annise Parker, and Texas Air National Guard Commander Col. Kurt L. Leslie.
The Houston National Cemetery contains 70,000 burial sites on 419 acres – the largest in the nation when it was built in the 1960s. The Cemetery is located at 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, about 15 miles northwest of Downtown Houston (southwest of the Sam Houston Tollway and North Freeway/I-45 intersection). The Cemetery can be reached at (281)447-8686.
To schedule an interview, contact Andy Hogue at (512)463-9212 or Julia Ruiz at (512)463-5354. Photos of all five generations of Patterson fighting men are available upon request.
ALSO ON MEMORIAL DAY …
On Memorial Day evening, Commissioner Patterson is scheduled to give the keynote at the HEARTS Veterans Museum Memorial Day program and concert in Huntsville. The HEARTS (Helping Every American Remember Through Serving) Veterans Museum is located at 455 State Hwy. 75 North. The program is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the museum.
Houston VA Cemetery (including directions): http://www.cem.va.gov/CEM/cems/nchp/houston.asp
HEARTS Cemetery: http://www.heartsmuseum.com
Commissioner Patterson bio (and military service history): http://www.glo.texas.gov/GLO/the-commissioner/biography.html
WHO: Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson
WHAT: Houston VA National Cemetery Memorial Day service
WHEN: 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, May 27, Memorial Day
WHERE: Houston VA National Cemetery, 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive, Houston
WHY: Patterson will serve at the guest speaker at this prestigious Memorial Day ceremony