We have always had days when we remember an event. Days of infamy, days of joy. Some days when we remember a person who was of immense importance to the development of this country. Even days that honor whole parts of our society (mothers, laborers, etc.) When I grew up (doncha hate it when geezers start out that way?) there were lots of highways named for presidents and mayors and such like. Then we started getting rock bands (yeah, my home town now has “The O-Jays Boulevard”) and movie stars (Lillian Gish and David Canary, well, that’s cool, but isn’t that more bragging than remembering?).
I remember how pleasing it was when we started seeing highways named for, say, the young motorcycle cop who was hurrying to work to help after an earthquake on a very dark morning and drove right off the broken end of a 100-foot overpass before anyone had time to get out there and block it off. For the firefighter who lost his life trying to save a stranger’s elegant home. For the boy who rushed back into a burning home to rescue his sister’s doll.
When I had to write a paper in school, having a road named for a president helped me remember the name of the road and the president , but it really didn’t help me remember the person. Especially if there were many roads, towns, buildings named for the same person. It was just a name to me, someone historical who hardly mattered to my life. But when I go past a sign for a road that honors a hero, someone previously known perhaps only to his family, I remember, I ponder, I send a thought of gratitude and regret for someone I’ll never know. Here’s one to ponder from CBSLOCAL in Dallas/Ft.Worth :
“The names of fallen soldiers are typically etched in stone. Sgt. Jay M. Hoskins’ name has been printed on metal.
Drive 10 miles north of Paris, [Texas] and you’re sure to see it. The sign bearing his name marks a stretch of US 271 from Loop 286 north to the Oklahoma border. It’s now known as the Sgt. Jay M. Hoskins Memorial Highway.”
Visit this link and read more about this remarkable man. And if you’re in the neighborhood, drive under the sign and remember who he was. Seems to me there are enough roads in this country to remember a lot of the ones who should be remembered, not because of the prestige it brings to that town, but because people who give so much should never be forgotten. Do you have a road named for a local hero? (Not necessarily one from the last twenty years?) Please share with me.