To the editor:
The Bridge Of Valor is supported by national organizations, Gold Star families, regional commanders, veterans, and citizens.
A group of veterans and citizens began meeting a year ago to share their mutual interest in promoting a name for the new bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Red Wing. Our ideas began with the media coverage of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, and the realization that Pierce County and Goodhue County lost 20 young men in Vietnam.
We were reminded of their service at a Goodhue County Historical Society presentation by Arlin Albrecht, a Red Wing journalist who had unlimited access to our young men in Vietnam. He spoke of his time, and wrote articles of our "hometown boys." He spoke of their youth, their integrity, and in some cases, being the last voice they heard, from home. They acted with valor. His closing sentiment was "Regardless of how you feel about the Vietnam war, we owe these young men and their families a great debt of gratitude."
This presentation ignited a conversation to honor all service members, the fallen and their families, and our first responders. The character trait "Valor" simply defined, is strength or courage in the face of danger. It is boldness, determination in great danger, especially in battle, and the ability to face resolution with little regard for self. It is a virtue not only of our service members, our first responders, but of you and I who answer the call of those in peril.
To honor all past, present, and future military service members, and first responders, the name the "Bridge of Valor" was put forth.
We reached out to Rep. Barb Haley, and she agreed to introduce legislation to have the "new bridge" the Bridge of Valor. Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2018, section 161.14, subdivision 16. Sen. Mike Goggin is also supporting legislation.
We hope this name will instill in the minds of generations to come, that the liberty we enjoy must be ever so carefully guarded, and when they are called upon to defend those liberties, they will do so with valor. We hope the naming of this bridge will bring healing, validation of service, and loss, and honor all who served us, past present, and future.
We are asking residents and elected officials from Minnesota and Wisconsin for your unwavering support for the name the "Bridge of Valor."
Honoring all, The Bridge of Valor Committee:
Jane Drazkowski, Ernie Stone, Daniel Ludwig and Laura Bryngelson-Pelz, Red Wing
Butch Berlin, Frontenac
Merle Larson, Cannon Falls
Malon Heath, Woodbury
With endorsement from:
American Legion Post 54
Republican Party Pierce County
Eau Claire VFW Post 305
Bay City American Legion Post 357
Victory and Valor for Veterans
America's Mighty Warriors
Serenity Hope Respite Home
Flags for Veterans
America's Gold Star Families
Army Survivor Outreach Services - with numerous Gold Star families
Red Wing VFW Post 1218
AMVET Post 19
Pierce County VFW Post 9060
Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1977
Marine Corps League Detachment 510
Former Wisconsin Senator David Zien
Red Wing Elks Lodge #845
Retired USMC Col. Richard Johnson