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Hubbard bridge dedicated to Purple Heart veterans

HUBBARD — A bridge on East Liberty Street in the city has been officially designated to honor Purple Heart veterans from the city and township who gave their all for the country.

A special ceremony took place Saturday for the official dedication of the bridge and unveiling of the sign naming it Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge,

This is the second bridge dedicated to veterans in a week with a bridge dedicated in Brookfield on Memorial Day to Vietnam veterans.

Hubbard Mayor Ben Kyle said the project has been years in the making.

“Working alongside our VFW and American Legion, the city took the approach of wanting to honor our veterans. Today we remember our veterans for their sacrifices for our country by renaming this bridge dedicated in their name. The thousands of people who drive on this road and this bridge will always remember that this is the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge,” he said.

Kyle said it is important to remember the veterans, knowing “All gave some and some gave all.”

State Rep. Nick Santucci, R-Howland, and State Sen. Sandra O’Brien, R-Lenox, attended the ribbon cutting.

Santucci said the Ohio Legislature continues to stay focused on veterans and making sure they are supported after their service.

“This bridge is a small gesture for the men and women who have served our nation,” he said.

O’Brien said it is important to remember veterans not just on Memorial Day, but every day. She said she remembers when she was a girl asking her father, a Navy veteran in World War II, how many Americans died during the war.

“I will never forget what he said. He said there were men who died in World War II, but the ones who died were mostly boys,” O’Brien said.

She said she learned many of the young servicemen were in their teens according to their enlistment papers, with some receiving Purple Hearts.

“Many of the men died a hero’s death. Our veterans gallantly fought for our freedoms, and today we honor them with the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge,” O’Brien said.

Joe Warminski, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3767, said the Purple Heart medal was started by President George Washington in 1782.

“He wanted those soldiers who exhibited valor to be recognized for their actions in combat. These veterans found the strength to persevere despite the overwhelming obstacles in their way. It is fitting we are dedicating a bridge to those exceptional individuals since a bridge is a symbol of overcoming an obstacle. This bridge will be a reminder to everyone of what these veterans were able to accomplish when faced with adversity,” Warminski said. “We honor our veterans by passing on our legacy because they won’t know unless we tell them.”

Joe Raica, commander of the American Legion Unit 51, said the Purple Heart is given to service people who have suffered a wound or been killed as the direct or indirect result of enemy action while serving.

“Any person who receives the Purple Heart is an American hero,” he said, noting 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been awarded, including over 1 million in World War II, 100,000 in the Korean War, and 350,000 in the Vietnam War.

Bobby Orr, a Purple Heart recipient and member of VFW Post 3767, said O’Brien was the one who got the proposal for dedicating the bridge to veterans on Gov. Mike Dewine’s desk.

He said he remembers a friend, Corp. Richard Choppa, who was a recipient of the Purple Heart. The names of local Purple Heart veterans were read during the ceremony.

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