On Friday, a bridge over Interstate 64 in Clark County, was dedicated as the Purple Heart Memorial Bridge -- a lasting memorial to veterans wounded or killed in combat.
"As a veteran, I know the sacrifices our service men and women have made over the years to protect our freedom – especially those who have given their blood and often their lives,” Governor Steve Beshear said. “It is a sacrifice that should never be forgotten, and the Purple Heart Memorial Bridge will serve as a lasting reminder to us all.”
The Purple Heart Memorial Bridge is part of the Exit 96 Interchange over I-64 at Winchester. Construction of the interchange was part of a widening of I-64 that was among Gov. Beshear’s top priorities for transportation.
The special designation of the bridge was requested by Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner and the City Commission. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet produced highway signs bearing the dedicatory name, and the signs were unveiled today in a ceremony at nearby Conkwright Middle School.
“I very much appreciate the Transportation Cabinet being willing to honor our Purple Heart recipients with this dedication,” Mayor Burtner said. “It’s a distinct honor for those who have earned the Purple Heart.”
The Purple Heart, the nation’s oldest military medal, is a combat decoration awarded to members of the Armed Forces who are wounded in action. It also is presented posthumously to the next of kin of those killed in action or who die of wounds received in action. The Purple Heart bears the image of George Washington, who created it in 1782.
“Today is a special day because we are honoring our Purple Heart recipients and our veterans. We can never give them the recognition they deserve and this is only a small token of appreciation for the sacrifices of our service men and women,” said Sen. R. J. Palmer of Winchester. “I am glad that I was able to take part in designating this Purple Heart Memorial to stand as a reminder of the cost of freedom.”
“From the moment our forefathers fought to establish our great nation, Kentucky has a long and distinguished history of its men and women serving in the military around the world,” said Rep. Donna Mayfield of Winchester. “Today’s dedication is the least we can do to thank and honor those from Clark County who have fought and been wounded or died protecting our freedom.”
I-64 is part of the Purple Heart Trail, so designated as a visual reminder to those who use the road system that others have paid a high price for their freedom to travel and live in a free society. Signs at various locations mark those roads, highways and bridges where legislation has been passed to designate parts of the national road system as The Purple Heart Trail.