Bridge named in honor of fallen Nashville Marine

Marines Sgt. Jeremy McQueary was killed in Afghanistan in 2010.
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A small gathering in Brown County honored a fallen Marine on Veterans Day Monday.

In downtown Nashville, the trees are thinning and so are the crowds.

"We're at the end of the business of our fall colors," said shop owner Matt Gray.

While there are still some customers, thoughts today turn to veterans. In particular, a hometown hero, Marine Sgt. Jeremy McQueary, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Back then, people lined the streets of Nashville to watch as police escorted the hearse with his body.

"It's horrible when you have these reminders, but (people need) to take them in the light that they should be taken in. To stop and pause with reverence," explained Gray, who said he and fellow shop owners closed their doors in 2010, so they could participate and watch the procession.

And today, hundreds from Brown County and beyond showed that reverence again. Collectively embracing Sgt. McQueary's family, they gathered at Brown County State Park for a brief ceremony.

"It's never going to be okay, he's not going to be here, but just to know that people do honor him and appreciate his sacrifice and what he's done is really special," explained Rae McQueary, Sgt. McQueary's widow.

That honor came in the form of a bridge. Governor Mike Pence named the bridge over Salt Creek on State Road 46 "Sgt. Jeremy R McQueary Memorial Bridge."

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, 11,000 vehicles pass over the bridge every day. But there is one person who may not totally understand right now, but eventually for whom this will have very deep meaning.

"He was so little when it happened, that anything like this is so special," explained Rae McQueary.

Hadley McQueary is now four. He was just five months old when his father died.

"As he grows up, that's his daddy's bridge. To make Jeremy real to him," she said.

A bridge that links Nashville to the rest of the state now has a deeper meaning.

"I hope that everybody recognizes and cherishes that that's been given to our country," said Gray.

The sacrifice of a man and family recognized by an entire community.

"It means a whole lot," said Rae McQueary of the newly named bridge.