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November 10, 2000

For the first time in several years, Perry residents will observe Veterans Day on Saturday-which is, appropriately, Veterans Day-with a ceremony at the Cherokee Strip Restaurant. The honorees will be veterans of all wars, with special emphasis on those who served in World War II. Included will be an honor guard composed of Air Force and Navy personnel from Tinker AF Base, and remarks by Navy Capt. (ret.) Jack Parr and Commodore John Kielty from Tinker. Those who wish may remain for lunch on their own at the restaurant. Dean Courtright, commander of the Perry American Legion post, will be master of ceremonies for the program. It is hoped that veterans and their wives and anyone else interested will be at the restaurant by 10:30 a.m. to join in the brief program. You don't have to be a member of the American Legion to share in this ceremony. Thanks to Perry native Bob Elliott, now of Oklahoma City, for taking the initiative in resurrecting this Veterans Day observance in Perry.

Carolyn Lambert Burns of Wichita Falls, Texas, passes along word of the death of Ray Baughman, who once operated a photo studio on the west side of the square and also served as city circulation director of The Perry Daily Journal. Ray, who would have been 75 years old this month, passed away last May in Birmingham, Alabama. During his nine years in Perry, Ray felt called to the Christian ministry and in time left here to attend a Bible college in Dallas. In 1960 he received a bachelor's degree and in 1974 he earned a doctorate of theology degree from Luther Rice Seminary. His wife, Lucy, was a registered nurse at Perry Memorial Hospital while the couple lived here. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. Many former Journal carriers will remember Ray as a hard-working supervisor and a young man who was dedicated to high principles in every endeavor he undertook. Carolyn Burns, incidentally, also is a former nurse at Memorial Hospital here and a native of the Sumner area.

I want to pass along to you a few morsels left over from recent research regarding the old Grand Opera House, which used to dominate the east side of the Perry square. Questions still pop up as to when the grand old building officially opened to the public. According to The Perry Enterprise-Times of October 1, 1901, the opening was on October 3 of that year. Prior to that, the Perry Opera House at a different location provided theatrical and variety show entertainment for local citizens.

Continuing along that line-the newspaper carried advertising for Beaby & Bowers Consolidated Minstrels ("60 all white people") to perform under canvas at Sixth and Delaware streets on September 16, 1901; the Ringling Brothers Circus ("world's greatest show") coming to Perry on October 3 (location of circus not given); and a memorial service for the assassinated President William McKinley to be held on Sunday, September 15, 1901, at the opera house. Those little ads provide an interesting but fragmentary comment on the times.