The Bear Mountain Bridge Receives New Name

FORT MONTGOMERY – It’s the oldest of the New York State Bridge Authority’s five crossings and arguably the most scenic. Now, it has an exalted place in the hearts of veterans and those who support them.

During a ceremony, on the legal observance of Veterans Day, a sign, bearing the new name, the Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bear Mountain Bridge, was unveiled. It will be placed on the eastbound side of the bridge. A similar sign is on the westbound approach.
NYSBA Executive Director, Joseph Ruggiero, called it a fitting tribute and a reflection of values.

“As the heirs to our nation’s history and values, it is our duty to head George Washington’s vision that the merit of service for all those who served us shall be recognized and memorialized in perpetuity,” Ruggiero said. “I cannot think of a more fitting tribute that designating this grand structure The Purple Heart Veterans Memorial Bridge.”

Renaming the bridge needed a bipartisan legislative push, from retiring Republican State Senator William Larkin, a veteran of WWII and Korea, and Democrat Assemblywoman Sandra Galef.

Larkin was unable to attend the ceremony.

Galef said she was confident Larkin shares the vision that henceforth, the bridge will stand as an essential symbol for all who cross.

“They will be reminded of the people that have served us and are serving us today and will serve us in the future and are there to give us the democracy and the freedoms that we have in this country,” Galef said.

Perhaps the most moving remarks came from veteran William Nazario, highly decorated, including a Purple Heart, and Department of New York Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart who was brief and to the point, with an appeal to help veterans.

“There are many out there who do not have a Purple Heart who carry wounds. Going to war, you do not come back the same person. And, these are the people that need our help.”

Nazario punctuated his appeal with the words “stand up, speak up.”

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