Bridges dedicated to war heroes
Three Morgan County bridges now bear the names of a trio of American heroes.
The bridges, located between mile markers 350-351 from Hartselle to Decatur on Flint Creek, now are named in memory of Jonathan Smith, Jon Erik Loney and Joshua Lee Rath. The three soldiers were killed while fighting in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The signs were unveiled Tuesday morning by family members after they received framed copies of the legislative act that authorized the naming of the bridges.
Sen. Arthur Orr, R- Decatur, who sponsored the legislation, said the bridge dedications are the least the county can do to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“This is a small token of our ongoing appreciation to not only local citizens who recently paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country but also to those in conflicts past who left behind family and friends. By memorializing these very heavily traveled bridges in the heart of Morgan County, I trust all those who pass by will realize the cost of freedom and those who have paid it for us.”
Smith, of Eva, died in Iraq in 2005 at age 21. Loney, a native of Oak Ridge, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2006 at age 21. Rath, 22, of Decatur, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
“It gets close to my heart to realize that we lost three of our brightest and bravest young men in war,” added Rep. Mickey Hammon, R-Decatur. “They volunteered to serve knowing the risk they were taking and they died as heroes serving their country.”
Parents of the soldiers unveiled the highway marker located on the south side of the bridges. They are Jim and Violet Kaylor of Oden Ridge, Donna and Gary Smith of Eva and Leroy and Darlene Rath of Decatur.