The old bridge was named the David Douthit Veterans Memorial Bridge on March 7, 2002. This was to honor David Douthit, who was killed in action on Feb. 27, 1991. His wife, daughter and parents reside in Soldotna. Although the name and memory are very important to David Douthit's relatives, I have never heard the bridge referred to by that name.
In order to honor all veterans of wars, dead or alive, I propose that the name of the bridge be shortened to Veterans Memorial Bridge or VFW Memorial Bridge. This name would then encompass all of Soldotna's brave soldiers (past and future), as well as all Alaska veterans and out-of-state veteran tourists who cross the new bridge. It could serve as a living memorial for all survivors of wars and conflicts.
The young men and women who may want to serve their country in the future would understand that the community cares for all of those who serve their country so that others may live in peace. The modified name would continue to show respect for David Douthit's memory, as a member of a team, not just as an individual, and would alleviate the exclusion of the many others who have served in pride.
The modification of the bridge name would honor and respect all veterans of foreign wars and show how proud the citizens of our community feel about those who protect us.
Roger C. Laber
Lt/Col USAF (Ret)
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