American hero honored with bridge dedication in Carter County

CARTER COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Dozens of people gathered Monday morning in Elizabethton to honor a veteran who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

On March 21, 1966, Lance Corporal Harold Wendell Wilson of Happy Valley was fighting in The Battle of Texas in the Vietnam War.

His nephew, Clayton Wilson, said he was a member of the Marine Corps.

“His Huey helicopter sat down in the middle, they didn’t realize all the Viet Cong was around them and they ambushed as they landed the helicopter,” Wilson said.

Harold Wilson died in that ambush.

Now more than 50 years later, his family is seeing his name go up in the community where he grew up.

A resolution was passed in Nashville to dedicate the bridge spanning Happy Valley Road on State Route 67 and U.S. Highway 321 in honor of Wilson.

Senator Rusty Crowe was in attendance on Monday.

“Harold Wilson is one of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice and really cared more about our liberty and our freedom than he did even his own life,” Crowe said.

The resolution came in last minute and almost missed the deadline.

“Thank goodness and we really appreciate our leadership in Nashville and the leadership here in the county commission saw how important this was and they rushed this through so we could do this for Harold and we’re really proud that everyone worked together to make that happen.”

Dozens of Wilson’s family and friends, even those who were in Vietnam with him, attended the dedication.

“This right here means a ton,” Clayton Wilson said. “Just having everybody and having people that Harold was actually with in Vietnam, having them with us, it makes this moment even more special.”

Now when people drive by the bridge those in attendance, such as Rep. Timothy Hill, have one hope.

“That folks will Google his name or try to learn more about him and then when they do that they’re going to learn about the sacrifice that he made and really that he put his country and his community ahead of his own self,” Hill said.

Harold Wilson attended Happy Valley High School. Family members say in the winter when the leaves are gone, those driving over the bridge will be able to see the school where he was a star football player, which makes the dedication even more special.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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