Tuesday, November 16, 2010
DALLAS -- The next time you walk or drive over the bridge spanning Rickreall Creek on Levens Street, remember that it is now officially the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
The city of Dallas joined with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3203 to make the designation on Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day.
"We are honored to dedicate this bridge to our veterans today," City Manager Jerry Wyatt said at the dedication at the bridge site Thursday morning.
The event drew a crowd of about 75 on the chilly, but dry morning. Many brought flags for the dedication and unveiling of the plaque displaying the bridge's new name.
Navy veteran Gordon Hanson brought the idea of dedicating a Dallas landmark to veterans to the local VFW post, which took the proposal to the city. The city decided to designate the bridge in honor of veterans on Veterans Day.
"I think it was great they dedicated it on this special day," Hanson said. "It puts more meaning into it."
Hanson, who grew up in Dallas, no longer lives here but spends a lot of time in his beloved hometown. After traveling around the country in recent years, he felt there was something missing in Dallas.
"I like to travel," Hanson said. "I go around and see bridges, roads, buildings and even counties dedicated to veterans."
He said with the number of people in town who have served in the military, a memorial was needed.
"There are so many veterans from Dallas," Hanson said.
VFW Post 3203 Commander Dennis Miller said the city's response was immediate and support within the community strong.
"I've never been so proud of a town in my whole life," Miller said, referring to the outpouring of support given to Marine Sgt. Ian Tawney's family during his memorial and the homecoming of the Dallas-based 162nd Engineer Company in addition to Thursday's gathering. "It's fantastic."
Mayor Jim Fairchild said the bridge will serve as a reminder to those who cross it that veterans should be honored everyday, not just on Veterans Day.
"I'm so proud that the community came together to do this," Hanson said. "It means a lot to past, present and future veterans."