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Sep. 29—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — All Vietnam War era veterans from Cambria County, living and deceased, will be honored with a bridge dedication ceremony on Saturday.
Oakridge Drive bridge, which crosses U.S. Route 219 in Richland Township, will officially be renamed the Cambria County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge.
The event is scheduled to take place at Richland American Legion Post 849, 390 Oakridge Drive, beginning at 10 a.m.
State Rep. Jim Rigby, R-Ferndale, 71st District, introduced legislation to rename the bridge.
"We made sure that we had everybody's buy-in," Rigby said during a press conference at 1st Summit Arena @ Cambria County War Memorial on Wednesday. "I didn't want to exclude anybody. It was important to me that veterans were on board with this, that we went with a bridge recognizing all those from Cambria County.
"That brought us to where we are today."
There are approximately 4,000 living Vietnam veterans in the county.
"Vietnam's been over a long time for the general news media, for the general public, but for the people — the men and women who served in Vietnam, who served during that time when they could have got called over there, Vietnam isn't over, probably never will be over," Disabled American Veterans Johnstown Chapter 2 Commander David Wagner said.
"The aftermath left to the families, the children leaves a hole. This bridge helps to close that hole."
Tom Haberkorn, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 364 president, expressed similar sentiments, saying he hopes the event will bring "a little closure, make the families who lost loved ones feel a little better and give recognition to those who served wherever it was during that time period."
"It's a culmination of a whole lot of things, and we're hoping that Saturday will be a meaningful day for everybody and that we will get everybody to appreciate the fact that we, as Vietnam veterans, no matter where you served, are here, and alive, and most of us are well," Haberkorn said.