WEST LOGAN, W.Va. — The Peach Creek bridge was dedicated to honor Clyde Elmo Bryant and Bethel Howard McNeely Aug. 20.
A resolution officially naming the bridge read by state senator Art Kirkendoll noted McNeely served as a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force in 1942 as a tail gunner on a B17 flying fortress.
McNeely flew 26 missions into enemy territory.
Kirkendoll explained Clyde Bryant joined the Marine Corps after the attack on Peal Harbor and served in the Pacific Theater.
Clyde Bryant made beachhead landings in Guam and Iwo Jima.
Clyde Bryant’s son, Roger Bryant was at the ceremony and commented, “I think my dad would say, ‘I”ll accept this honor, but I accept it on behalf of all the war veterans on Peach Creek and Crooked Creek.’”
McNeely, who is in his mid-90’s, addressed the crowd saying, “You humble me by this honor. I know we’ve all heard, read or said four words: freedom is not free. I’m here to tell you, being a combat veteran, it comes at a very great cost in lives lost and suffering.”
McNeely then went on to speak about the sacrifices of veterans throughout the history of the United States.
McNeely then recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg address in its entirety saying in part, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]