By Chris Simones
Dozens of people crowded under a canopy or claimed spots of shade on the side of New Nashville Highway on Tuesday to witness the dedication of the Sgt. Thomas D. Young Memorial Bridge.
Michael Young unveiled the sign bearing his brother’s name as the crowd applauded and a Huey helicopter circled overhead.
“I’d like to thank everyone for being here, but there are some people I’ve got to give some extra thanks to because they made this happen,” Young said. “It was over three years ago that Levie Glenn viewed a tribute that was done by a young English student in Arkansas. She did a remarkable job and it moved Levie and he called me up and said we need to do something for Tommy.”
“I was all on board for that, but then about a year and a half ago out of absolutely nowhere comes Chuck Haston,” said Young. “I still haven’t figured out why he did this but he did. He decided to toss the idea over to Commissioner Blaine Wilcher. Blaine immediately took the ball and ran with it, and of course Commis-sioner Gary Prater was all over it.”
“Last but not least, I’ve got to thank Leta Glenn,” Young added. “Leta has worked tirelessly for the last few days or weeks to make everything about today perfect. I really thank you guys and ladies from the bottom of my heart.”
County Commissioner Blaine Wilcher pointed out the importance of dedicating the bridge to Sgt. Young. “Most of us Warren countians didn’t know about Thomas,” Wilcher said. “What we’re doing here today will help us to know and remember.”
County Executive Jimmy Haley read a proclamation naming July 14 as “Sgt. Thomas Dudley Young Day across this community in respect for this fallen hero during this dedication ceremony naming the Miller Branch Bridge in his honor today.”
Representatives of American Legion Post 173 and Vietnam Veterans of America Royce Davenport Chapter 1112 were in attendance.
Sgt. Young was killed in South Vietnam on Dec. 15, 1970 when the helicopter he was in sustained damage from gunfire which caused cargo on the craft to become unstrapped. Sgt. Young was struck by a bullet and fatally wounded as he stood to secure the compromised cargo.
The Sgt. Thomas D. Young Memorial Bridge is near the Warren/ Cannon County line on the New Nashville Highway.