PIERRE, S.D. (KCAU) – Governor Kristi Noem and the South Dakota Departments of Veterans Affairs, Military, and Transportation launched the new Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication Program this week.
The program will dedicate state bridges after South Dakotans who died while in active service. More than 3,000 South Dakotans have made the ultimate sacrifice.
In Hot Springs, Veterans Affairs Secretary Greg Whitlock was present for the first Fallen Heroes Bridge dedication ceremony on Tuesday.
At the event, the bridge on U.S. 38/North River Street was dedicated to Second Lt. Maynard C. Freemole, a World War II veteran from Edgemont, who died in combat on December 16, 1943, three months before his 21st birthday.
“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 identity in this great nation,” said Noem. “This is a way we can memorialize the sacrifices of our heroes. Their legacies will live on.”
“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.”
South Dakota plans to dedicate six bridges each year to the fallen heroes.