ONEONTA, Ala.- A show of patriotism took place in Blount County on Monday as more than 100 community members and veterans’ groups came together for a bridge dedication.
The rain did not stop people from paying tribute to veterans in Blount County.
Several state and national leaders were also in the crowd, including Governor Kay Ivey.
“We know freedom is not free and we’re here to honor the men and women who served in the military and also pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Freedom is our treasure and to keep it, we must protect it and that means we must defend it,” said Governor Ivey.
The Freedom Bridge reopened less than two months after construction began in 2019.
While it is in memorial of all veterans, it was inspired by one local hero.
Forrest Sibley was the inspiration for this bridge project. "His dedication and sacrifice in the Afghanistan war gave us the inspiration to name it the freedom bridge,” said Blount County Commissioner Dean Calvert.
Sibley, a 31-year-old staff sergeant, died in August of 2015 after his vehicle was attacked.
“The freedom bridge is freedom for all the wars that we’ve been to and this underscores the fact that freedom is not free. It is protected by the price that men and women in the military service pay,” said Governor Ivey.
Sibley graduated from Appalachian High School in Oneonta.