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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Stan Musial Bridge? St. Clair County Wants To Call Mississippi River Project "Veterans Bridge"

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Stan Musial
  • Stan Musial

The debate about what to name the Mississippi River bridge is back in full swing this week with yet another suggestion -- and one that some Illinois officials say everyone can support.

The idea? The "Veterans Bridge."

The proposed name, voted unanimously in St. Clair County, Illinois last night, comes a month after there was a big push across Missouri to name the bridge after the late, great Cardinal Stan Musial.

"I don't know what else could get more support," Frank Heiligenstein, board member of St. Clair County, tells Daily RFT.

Will Missouri lawmakers be interested in a "Veterans Bridge?"

The vote last night functions as a recommendation; eventually, the legislatures of Missouri and Illinois will have to come to some sort of consensus when naming the bridge that connects the two states.

In the days and weeks after Musial died, more and more Missouri lawmakers began releasing press statements and even speaking out in public sessions about the importance of naming the project the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge in honor of such a beloved icon.

But soon after, momentum started to build for a different proposal -- the Andy Gammon Memorial Bridge, after a man who died in a tragic accident while working on the bridge.

Now, officials across the river are adding the Veterans Bridge to the mix.

"It impacts so many men and women that have served in the military," says Heiligenstein, who originally proposed a Veterans Memorial Bridge name, but decided to broaden it out to honor living veterans as well by removing "memorial" from the recommended name.


"You can't go wrong," he says of the suggestion. "You can't get anybody mad with that.... There are probably enough other places and things that we can name after Stan the Man that may be more appropriate than the bridge."

Heiligenstein, who has been on the board for decades and is now chairman of the judiciary committee, says that Gammon, the worker who died, deserves some sort of placard on the bridge.

"I realize he paid the full price," he says, but adds, "You get yourself into a pickle when you start going after [individual] names."

Concerning a Musial proposal, he adds that the late Cardinal would likely support a bridge honoring more people than just him.

"Stan would be the first to say no," he says.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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