BEND, OR -- A goal set five years ago by the Bend Heroes Foundation of a "Medal of Honor Highway Across America" is in the homestretch. Massachusetts will soon erect signs naming its portion of U.S. Highway 20 as the Medal of Honor Highway. It is the last of 12 states along the nation's longest road to make such a designation.
Dick Tobiason started the effort in Central Oregon. He tells KBND News, “It’s a great accomplishment to have the first coast to coast highway in the United States especially named for Medal of Honor recipients. Highway 20 is the longest highway so what better cause than designate it for Medal of Honor recipients.” Tobiason is excited to travel to Massachusetts this spring when the final Medal of Honor signs are erected, “We’re preparing a ceremony; it will involve carrying a Medal of Honor flag across the state, veterans’ groups, legislators, the governor probably. We want a great finale. Longest Highway, Medal of Honor - what could be better?”
Tobiason has spearheaded the campaign since 2017, getting Oregon and 11 others to designate state Medal of Honor highways. The next step is national recognition, according to Tobiason, “Now that we have all 12 states done, we can go forward. Congress will say you have to show support from a wide range of veterans’ groups. So, we have already got those in hand and they have agreed to do that.”
Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Pennsylvania Representative Mike Kelly are cosponsoring federal legislation to designate Highway 20 as the National Medal of Honor Highway.