Chappaqua's Route 120 bridge was a point of frustration Now, it will be a symbol of remembrance.
On Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he signed into law legislation that renames it the Staff Sergeant Kyu Hyuk Chay Memorial Bridge. Chay, who served in the army, was killed in action in 2006 while in Afghanistan.
The span that goes through the heart of the hamlet's downtown is close to two landmarks of importance for Chay: A war memorial by the Chappaqua train station with his name inscribed along with others with local ties, and , which is his family's business. The storefront is located on lower King Street.
The Route 120 bridge, built in 1930, underwent a major renovation and partial replacement from 2008 to 2011. It was dedicated last December and the finishing touches on its landscaping were done this past spring.
The legislation also designates a stretch of Route 120 in Harrison's Purchase hamlet as the Specialist Anthony N. Kalladeen Memorial Highway. Kalladeen was kileld in Iraq in 2005 when his vehicle was ambushed, according to Cuomo's office.
"As New Yorkers come together to celebrate our country's birthday, we must pause to honor the countless American heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could live free today," Cuomo, a New Castle resident, said in a press release from his office. "Both Specialist Kalladeen and Staff Sergeant Chay will have the lasting memorials they deserve in Westchester County with this renamed highway and bridge. I thank the bill sponsors for their efforts to pay tribute to the sacrifice these courageous men made for the people of our state and nation."
Lawmakers who represent New Castle and Harrison, Assemblyman Robert Castelli and state Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, were quoted in the governor's announcement as praising the move.
"When our young servicemen and women make the supreme sacrifice on behalf of our nation, their actions should be remembered and honored forever," said Castelli in the release. "While nothing can replace this terrible loss, it is a small tribute but fitting tribute on behalf of a grateful community, and state, to permanently honor them in this way. I thank the Governor for his timely recognition of the sacrifice of these fine young servicemen, on the eve of our nation’s birthday."
"There is no way to adequately thank and honor Specialist Anthony N. Kalladeen and Staff Sergeant Kyu Hyuk Chay for their tremendous courage and sacrifice protecting our nation," Opppenheimer said in the release. "What we can do is offer this tribute for their service to our country and ensure that their memory is kept alive for generations."