GARDINER – The bridge between Gardiner and Randolph will be named in honor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The bridge, which bears no official name, will be known as the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Bridge. The steel girder and concrete structure was built in 1980 to replace an older truss bridge several hundred yards downstream on the Kennebec River.
A ceremony is expected to be held this fall, perhaps on Veterans Day or on Dec. 7, the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack.
“We’re losing more World War II veterans every day,” said state Rep. Charles D. Fisher, D-Brewer, the bill’s sponsor and chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee. “Having been a history teacher, those guys are important to me. We breathe a lot of free air because of those guys.”
Fisher introduced the measure after being approached by Gisela Dearborn of Richmond, who reminded him that the 60th anniversary of the attack was approaching.
“It was the last bill introduced on the last night of the session. It came across about 9:30 p.m.,” Fisher said.
Dearborn and her husband, Larry, have been lobbying for some sort of Pearl Harbor memorial in Maine. A German native who came to the United States in 1957, Gisela Dearborn’s brother was killed in World War II. Her husband, a former state commander of the American Legion, fought in Korea and Vietnam.
Dearborn has also urged lawmakers to rename a portion of U.S. Route 1 between Cook’s Corner and Bath the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway.
When she heard news that Gov. Angus King signed the bridge bill on June 27, Dearborn said, she sat down and cried.
She hopes that the 14 Pearl Harbor survivors believed to be living in Maine will attend the ceremony.
“I think it’s a shame that it took the state of Maine 60 years to do something about Pearl Harbor,” she said.