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Signs proclaim bridge dedication to sailors

November 11, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - Two brown aluminum signs went up Wednesday announcing the bridge at Halfway Boulevard over Interstate 81 has been dedicated to two Washington County men killed four years ago in the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

Fireman Apprentice Patrick Roy of Keedysville and Seaman Craig Wibberley of Williamsport died in the Oct. 12, 2002, attack. Both were serving in the U.S. Navy, and both were 19.

"It is great that different people around the county want to do something to remember Craig and Patrick," Tom Wibberley, Craig Wibberley's father, said Tuesday.

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A dedication ceremony probably will not occur until Oct. 12, 2005, the anniversary of the Cole attack, Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington/Allegany, said Wednesday. An official plaque also is expected to be ready then, he said.

Munson was the driving force behind convincing the Maryland Highway Administration to put up the signs, Tom Wibberley said.

"It is nice to know that he feels that strongly about honoring Craig and Patrick," Wibberley said.

Munson said he made the request on behalf of the Washington County Commissioners and the county's delegation to the General Assembly.

The bridge was officially dedicated in September, Lori Rakowski, spokeswoman for the Maryland Highway Administration, said.

The signs were put up Wednesday, one of them on the back of an existing sign and the other in a median on the bridge, she said.

Tom Wibberley said he works for C. William Hetzer Inc., the contracting company that did the bridge and intersection work at the Interstate 81-Halfway interchange.

The USS Cole, a Navy destroyer, was refueling in the port of Aden in Yemen on Oct. 12, 2000, when suicide bombers aboard an explosive-laden boat rammed the vessel in the side. Seventeen American sailors died in the attack, which has been attributed to al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization also blamed for the airplane hijackings that resulted in the deaths of more than 3,000 in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.

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