ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – The bridge along Mary Patton Hwy in Elizabethton was named the World War II veteran Roy J. McKinney Memorial Bridge Friday morning.
As McKinney’s family members gathered for the unveiling ceremony, Tennessee Sen. Jon Lundberg (R), District 4 , presented a bill from the state senate naming the bridge in honor of the veteran who served in Europe during World War II.
McKinney’s daughters Kathy Smith and Susanne Robin received the official proclamation from Sen. Lundberg to the applause of their husbands, children and grandchildren.
State Sen. Rusty Crowe (R), District 3, also read aloud the proclamation enacted by the Tennessee Senate in Nov. 2005, honoring McKinney’s service to his country.
During WWII, McKinney flew 83 combat missions, amassing a total of 1,700 combat hours while serving as a bombardier-navigator with the U.S. Army Air Corps, 9th Air Force, 391st Bomber Group and the “Black Death” Marauder Group.
McKinney’s son-in-law, Danny Smith, said he is proud to be related to the veteran. See his interview here:
The Carter County native and longtime resident is the most highly decorated WWII veteran in Carter County and one of the most highly decorated veterans in Tennessee.
Shortly after the bridge dedication, Sen. Crowe joined Elizabethton Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Carter at the Elizabethton-Carter County Veterans Walk of Honor to raise new flags in honor of each branch of military. Carter was accompanied by a member of the U.S. Armed Forces representing each branch.
The event was organized by former Chairman of the Oversight Committee for the Elizabethton-Carter County Veterans Walk of Honor and War Memorial Deacon Bowers.