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Kirkwood to speak at Texas Independence Day celebration

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By Chris Edwards
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Daniel KirkwoodDaniel KirkwoodWOODVILLE – Daniel Kirkwood, a man of many talents, will give the keynote speech at the annual “Toast to Texas Independence” celebration at Heritage Village on Saturday, March 2.

Kirkwood, who is an accomplished poet, songwriter, musician and retired educator, is a native of Tyler County, having grown up two miles northwest of Colmesneil, the son of Lillie Mae (Hadnot) Kirkwood and Charlie Kirkwood. He attended both Gilder High School in Colmesneil and Scott High in Woodville, and later attended college at Prairie View A&M after serving in the U.S. Army.

During his academic career, Kirkwood, who holds several degrees and certifications, taught a variety of courses in industrial education and trades.

Much of Kirkwood’s work reflects his deep religious faith, and also pays homage to historical figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom Kirkwood paid homage in “The Moses From Dixie.”

Several of Kirkwood’s poems have been published in anthologies and literary magazines, including a piece in the British anthology Theatre of the Mind.

Kirkwood is also a musician and began singing while he was still in high school, with the Zion Hill Baptist Church choir in Colmesneil, at the church where he still worships and serves. He also sang with the group the Singing Hearolds of Prairie View, and at several churches. He recorded his album God is the Light, which features several of his original gospel songs.

The celebration on March 2 is to commemorate Texas Independence Day and has become a tradition at Heritage Village. The festivities begin at 1 p.m., and the toast will take place at 2 p.m. County Judge Milton Powers will make the toast of fresh, cool spring water in honor of the event.

The event is held to coincide with the time and date in 1836 when a group gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos to sign a Declaration of Independence from Mexico, which set forth the creation of the Republic of Texas, an independent country for almost 10 years.





Texas Highways magazine suggested that Texans all commemorate the event by stopping whatever they happen to be doing at 2 p.m. on March 2 to drink a toast to Texas. In 1993, historian Joe Franz, who often contributed to the magazine composed a poem to commemorate the event.

Texas Highways, also suggested, according to Dottie Johnson’s “At the Village” column in the Feb. 23, 1994 edition of the Tyler County Booster, that those celebrating Texas Independence Day might also want to write and use an original toast, and the Heritage Society followed suit with their own toast that was used in the program.

Students in Texas History classes from area schools also got involved in writing original toasts, as well.

The event will also feature the children from St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Woodville, who will lead attendees in songs about Texas.

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