Highway dedication of Interstate 390 just south of Rochester, N.Y. on July 17, 2003.
Under bright blue skies, two huge and colorful 16-feet long signs dedicated to the 87th Infantry Division as well as Gen. George S. Patton were unveiled.
New York State Department of Transportation officials estimated that 1,500 motorists are now passing the signs hourly.
As television cameras ground away, the tarpaulin covers were dramatically slipped away from the large signs of approximately 5’ X 16’ at 10 a.m., followed by a ceremony involving five 87th Division veterans. John Foy, A-347; Mitchell Kaidy, D-345, and Bob Purple, A-346, spoke. Other 87th Division members attending were Bill Hicks F-347, and Bill Statt E-347.
Kaidy, who initiated the project as he did four plaques in Belgium and an Oswego, N.Y. memorial to S/Sgt. Curtis F. Shoup, quoted Prof. Stanley Hirshon, a recent biographer of Gen. Patton, who wrote Kaidy: "The 87th was a great division."
Opening the ceremonies, Foy cited "all who serve in a time of war, These soldiers of that long ago war who died to save Western Civilization deserve to be remembered – remembered forever – and that is what we are doing here today. The Golden Acorn, our Division insignia, on top of this sign will forever remind us of what these men did." We also especially remember those serving in Iraq.
Those serving in Iraq were also on Kaidy’s mind. "The dedication of this plaque should occasion in all Americans a strong surge of patriotism toward our soldiers fighting in the Middle East," he said. Kaidy also quoted Patton’s high commendation to the 87th Division after World War II ended in Europe citing the 87th’s "magnificent fighting record….from the day you entered the line in the blood-spattered mud of the Saar Valley through the bitter struggle of Bastogne."
Bob Purple, a recent retiree of the State Department of Transportation, noted the department’s cooperation in fabricating and erecting such extraordinary signs, which are among the largest on the I-390 expressway, and are distinctively and visibly topped by a golden acorn. In event the signs were ever struck accidentally, they could be re-erected by replacing bolts at their anchorages, Purple said.
The erection of the signs was authorized under legislation submitted to the N.Y. Legislature by two legislators, Assemblyman Joseph Errigo and Sen. Dale Volker.
By Mitchell Kaidy, D-345
87th infantry division