People behind highway commemorative signs


While you were driving to a parent’s house for a healthy vacation with turkey and toppings, or maybe just on your daily commute, you’ve probably noticed those brown signs along the highway with names on it.

There are over 200 sections of Ohio highways that are designated as Memorial Highways. The designation is given after Ohio officials or senators introduce legislation to the General Assembly to honor an individual or group, which must then be approved by the body and signed by the governor.

The Ohio Department of Transportation then creates the signs – which cost around $ 500 each – and displays them back and forth on the dedicated portion of the roadway. There is usually a small ceremony held on-site to formalize the grand opening, and some of the signs have American flags hanging on them.

The sections of highway across the state that cross several counties are named after Tuskegee aviators, black fighter pilots, and their WWII aircrew; Spanish American Veterans and the Marine Corps League. A section of the highway also honors the 37th Division of the United States Army, an Ohio National Guard infantry unit known as the “Buckeye Division” that was deployed to fight in World War I and II. .

In Franklin County, there are more than two dozen commemorative highway designations, most of them for law enforcement or military personnel who have been killed in the line of duty.

Staff Sgt. Christophe L. Brown

US 23 between 7th Avenue and Northwood Avenue

Brown, 26, a graduate of Hamilton Township High School, Columbus, was killed on April 3, 2012 by an improvised explosive in Kunar Providence, northeastern Afghanistan, while performing his fourth period of service.

Columbus Police Officer Thomas R. Hayes

US 33 between North Souder Avenue and West 5th Avenue

Hayes was shot and paralyzed from waist to toe while attempting to arrest two teenagers for curfew violations on December 18, 1979, and one of them pulled out a handgun and shot him . After his injury, Hayes worked as a civilian draftsman for the police. But he continued to suffer from serious health problems and one of his legs was amputated in 2005. He died of his injuries in 2011 at the age of 61.

Army Spc. Nicolas E. Zimmer

Interstate 270 between West Broad Street and US 62

Zimmer, 20, of Columbus, graduated from Westland High School. He died on May 30, 2004 when his vehicle was hit by rocket-propelled grenades while serving in Kufa, Iraq.

Columbus Mayor Dana “Buck” Rinehart

Interstate 670 between 4th Street and Interstate 70

Rinehart was mayor of Columbus between 1984 and 1992. During his tenure he oversaw the completion of I-670 between downtown and John Glenn Columbus International Airport, as well as planning and construction. the former City Center Downtown shopping center, the redevelopment of the Short North and Brewery neighborhoods, and the development of the Martin Luther King Center. He died in 2015 at the age of 68.

General Thaddeus Kosciusko

Route 257, starting in Prospect and continuing to US 33

Kosciusko, whose real full name was Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko, was a Polish-Lithuanian military engineer who came to the British colonies during the early days of the American Revolutionary War to help the settlers. He is credited with helping to organize the American defeat against the British in Saratoga, NY, and helping oversee the construction of military fortifications in what is now the West Point Military Academy in New State. York. He then returned to Poland, where he was considered a national hero and later died at the age of 71.

The air calvary sergeant. Joseph W. Danison

Route 317 between US 23 and Noe-Bixby Road

Danison, 24, was killed in action during the Vietnam War on September 13, 1969, in southern Vietnam’s Tay Ninh province, near the Cambodian border. His platoon reportedly attempted to flank and come to the aid of another attacked platoon in a heavily fortified area of ​​North Vietnamese bunkers when faced with a secondary ambush, including a Claymore mine explosion and machine gun fire . He suffered most of the blast, but held on as medics began treating him before small arms fire killed him. He was posthumously awarded a second Bronze Star and a second Purple Heart for his bravery and heroism.

Want to learn more about other designated commemorative highways across Ohio?

A complete list of Ohio Memorial Highways is available on the ODOT website.

The sun peeks around a road sign commemorating Westerville Police Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering stands on I-270. They were killed while responding to a domestic violence call.

Can-Pfc. Nicholaus Zimmer served in the army in Germany. Zimmer was killed in action in Iraq on Memorial Day 2004.


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