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Veterans Honored with Bridge Dedication

The Columbus Fire Department was on hand to honor "The Iron Men of Metz" - Photo: Christopher Lowe
The Columbus Fire Department was on hand to honor "The Iron Men of Metz" - Photo: Christopher Lowe
The “Iron Men of Metz” were honored Friday at a bridge dedication ceremony in Bartholomew County. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) named the U.S. Highway 31 bridge at Clifty Creek on the east side of Columbus in memory of these fighting men of World War II. A ceremony was conducted at the Cintas parking lot adjacent to the bridge. The event was well attended, with over 500 people braving the hot temperatures and threat of thunderstorms. Among the attendees were Mayor Kristen Brown, State Senator Greg Walker and former Columbus Mayor Robert Stewart.
 
State Representative Milo Smith officiated the ceremony, as Governor Pence had prior commitments. He says that a lot of the credit goes to Kristen Whittington, the grand-daughter of Columbus WW II veteran Charles "Red" Whittington. Smith says she went through all the proper channels to get this done. Smith adds that he initially wanted to name the bridge after Whittington, but the 92-year-old refused. "It's not about me," Smith recalled Whittington telling him. Instead, the veteran asked for recognition for all of his brothers-in-arms.

This marks the 70th year since 95th U.S. Army Division soldiers fought their way through Nazi strongholds to capture the city of Metz, which is located in northeast France at its borders with Germany and Luxembourg.
 
The 95th Division engaged the enemy on October 19, 1944 at German fortresses surrounding Metz. These U.S. forces continued to hold fast against the Nazi army's repeated attempts to cross the Seille River. On November 1, these troops went on the offensive, striking the Germans at Maizieres-les-Metz. The 95th crossed the Moselle River on November 8 and advanced to Bertrange, meeting heavy resistance at German fortifications. By the end of the day on November 22, these Iron Men of Metz had taken and defended the city of Metz.

As to how the Iron Men of Metz got their name, stories emerged of German military commander, possibly a General, dealing with his retreating forces. When he asked who were these men who beat back his forces, someone reportedly replied, "they must be made of iron."


Images

The Columbus Fire Department was on hand to honor "The Iron Men of Metz" - Photo: Christopher LoweThe Columbus Fire Department was on hand to honor "The Iron Men of Metz" - Photo: Christopher LoweState Representative Milo Smith addresses Friday's crowd - Photo: Christopher LoweSurviving members of "The Iron Men of Metz" unveil bridge sign - Photo: Christopher LoweColumbus Mayor Kristen Brown addresses Friday's crowd - Photo: Christopher Lowe
Last Updated: Friday, June 20, 2014 4:04:27 PM


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