A new Fallen Heroes Bridge dedication program has been launched in South Dakota. It dedicates state bridges after South Dakotans who died while in active military service.
The program is sponsored by the South Dakota departments of Veterans Affairs, Military and Transportation, and the Governor’s Office.
The list of names that may be remembered further through bridge dedications is long. More than 3,000 South Dakotans have been killed in the line of duty.
The first Fallen Heroes Bridge dedication ceremony was held Nov. 26. The bridge on U.S. 38/North River Street in Hot Springs is now dedicated to Second Lieutenant Maynard C. Freemole. He was a World War II veteran from Edgemont who died in combat on Dec. 16, 1943, three months before his 21st birthday. The ceremony included Greg Whitlock, Veterans Affairs Secretary.
“Our fallen heroes are no longer with us, but their memory lives on in the hearts of their loved ones and our state,” said Whitlock. “Naming our South Dakota bridges in honor of our fallen will give us an opportunity of remembrance, reflection, and respect — for honoring the men and women who gave their lives in service to this nation. They cherished liberty and loved freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life.”
“Maynard Freemole and other fallen heroes sacrificed their lives so that we can go on living as a free people, free to choose our own destiny in this great nation,” said Noem. “This is a way we can memorialize the sacrifices of our heroes. Their legacies will live on.”
The program calls for six bridges per year to be officially dedicated in similar manner.