Hundreds of people gathered in Newport, New Hampshire to honor a fallen solider by dedicating a bridge in his name.
U.S. Army Specialist Justin Rollins, 22, was killed in Iraq last year. And this Memorial Day, Gov. John Lynch, D-New Hampshire, officially renamed the Elm Street bridge in Newport in his honor. Friends, family, and community members of Rollins were on hand.
"Every time we do something publicly like this, it kind of sets me back a little because it brings it all back. But all in all, the honor that he is given and the support for our community and everyone... It is amazing," said Rollins' mother, Rhonda.
Justin Rollins was killed in Samara by a roadside bomb. The Army Specialist had the opportunity to avoid the war zone by becoming a recruiter. But instead, he chose to go to battle.
Rollins' mother said the Memorial Day event highlighted that courage. She was accompanied my Rep. Paul Hodes, D-New Hampshire, to the sign that honors her son.
"The bridge is a perpetual memorial that reminds us to keep our heroes in our hearts," said Hodes.
Several hundred people showed up to pay tribute. Taps was played and hugs were shared. Along with the sign on the bridge, a scholarship fund is keeping Rollins' memory alive.
"Students home now that have done at least one tour in Afghanistan or Iraq. What it is basically is a military appreciation scholarship for service to the country," explained Rollins' father, Skip.
"They have made and continue to make enormous sacrifices for us and this includes not only the soldiers who are fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan but the veterans," said Lynch.
The governor said he hopes the new law will not only honor the legacy of Rollins, but all of New Hampshire's soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.
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