It’s a small bridge, a span that some might not even realize crosses the water as they drive along Clarence Road in Snow Shoe Township.
But now there is a sign that doesn’t just bring the bridge to their attention. It also shines a spotlight on the people whom the bridge honors.
A simple green road sign, like so many others that grace Pennsylvania roadways, announces The Clarence Bridge of Freedom for All Veterans to travelers coming and going over the bridge in the small village, a stone’s throw from the baseball field and the brick factory.
But getting that little sign wasn’t that simple. In fact, it took five years.
The process started with House Bill 1906 in 2011. In 2012, a different House bill in Harrisburg picked up the cause. The bill honored different structures across Pennsylvania, from Adams County to Washington County, and had a long list of sponsors from around the commonwealth.
The very last one on the list? Designating the small bridge on state Route 4002 in the northern part of Centre County to honor the area’s servicemen and women.
For most of the bridges, the honors were tied to a certain name — honoring the sacrifice of one person.
That wasn’t what the members of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the Mountaintop area wanted. They have a lot of veterans. The Legion has 195 active members, and a wall of pictures of those who gave their lives in various conflicts over the years, according to historian Bob Kobularcik.
“I really think it’s the dedication,” he said. “The people are just really dedicated.”
So it seemed only right to dedicate something to honor that overall commitment from the area.
“Snow Shoe Township, Centre County, has had many veterans who have served and died for their country. Many of them have passed through the bridge. ... All of these veterans have given some service and some of them have given all in service to their country,” the final law naming the bridge read.
Kobularcik was part of getting the job done, but another part was the guy whose name was on the bill: state Rep. Mike Hanna, D-Lock Haven.
“Many years ago, Bob contacted my office with the idea to construct this bridge in hopes of giving back to military personnel throughout our community. After many years, we are now here to dedicate this important piece of infrastructure in our community to all veterans,” Hanna said at Saturday’s dedication ceremony.
“It means an awful lot to future generations to learn and understand the sacrifices that both active military and retired veterans have made to protect each and every one of us,” he said.