ANGOLA, Ind. (WFFT) — The Indiana Department of Transportation on Friday unveiled signs officially naming U.S. Highway 20 as the “Medal of Honor Memorial Highway” across Northern Indiana.
A naming ceremony and sign unveiling took place Friday along U.S. 20 in Angola with federal, state and local officials as well as Hoosier veterans’ groups taking part.
“Indiana is a state with a proud history of showing honor and respect to our nation’s veterans,” Governor Eric Holcomb said. “Naming U.S. 20 as the Medal of Honor Memorial Highway is a wonderful tribute to the men and women who protect our freedom and our country, and I’m so grateful to Rep. Zent and the veterans’ organizations that led this effort.”
State Representative Denny Zent led the naming effort in partnership with Indiana veterans’ organizations.
Rep. Zent introduced legislation calling renaming, unanimously approved by the Indiana House and Senate during the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
By designating U.S. 20 as the Medal of Honor Memorial Highway, Indiana joins a national effort to name U.S. 20, which runs 3,365 miles from Boston, MA to Newport, OR.
Indiana is home to 156 miles of US-20 and is the sixth state to adopt the Medal of Honor name formally.
Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska have named their sections, and efforts are underway in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts to name their portions.
"I'm proud that INDOT played a role in joining this national effort to pay tribute to our heroes," Indiana Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe McGuinness said. "The freedoms we cherish as Americans would not exist without the extraordinary bravery and selfless sacrifices of Medal of Honor recipients and all our veterans."
INDOT will place eight commemorative signs along U.S. 20’s route through Steuben, LaGrange, Elkhart, St. Joseph, LaPorte, Porter and Lake counties in Northern Indiana.
Signs will be placed in the following locations:
- Westbound near the Ohio State Line
- Westbound after I-69
- Eastbound after I-69
- Eastbound after Elkhart County Road 17
- Westbound after US 31 (West junction)
- Eastbound after I-94 (Exit #22)
- Westbound after I-94 (Exit #22)
- Eastbound at the Lake/Porter County Line
Since the Medal of Honor was first presented during the Civil War through March 2020, 3,508 awards have been issued with every state represented.
As of October 2020, there are 68 living Medal of Honor recipients across the U.S.
To earn the Medal of Honor, a member of the U.S. Armed Forces must act with “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during combat at the risk of one’s life against an enemy of the United States.”