Travelers who frequent US highways around the country are familiar with the little signs on roads and bridges designating the structures as memorials to military personnel.
There’s almost always a momentary acknowledgment that this person, whom we don’t even know, gave his or her life for our country, even though Milam County residents don’t recognize the names.
The Rockdale area now has one of the highway stretches. The 12-mile section of US 77 between Rockdale and the Y-intersection outside Cameron is officially the Master Sgt. Charles L. Price III Memorial Highway.
Sgt. Price was a Cameron native and a 1989 graduate of Yoe High School. There’s no telling how many times he was on that stretch of road between Cameron and Rockdale in his life.
He went into the army and served with distinction for 22 years. He earned the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal five times and the Army Achievement Medal nine times.
Sgt. Price earned more than two dozen medals.
He was deployed six times, including Iraq, Kosovo and Kuwait. The last time was to Afghanistan.
On Aug. 12, 2011, Sgt. Price was killed in Kanduhar, Afghanistan when his Second Combat Brigade was attacked with explosives.
It’s not really the custom to name things after individuals in this county. There are many deserving ones but the problem is where do you stop.
But in Sgt. Price’s case there is absolutely no doubt that this honor is appropriate and goes right to the core of what this county and its people are all about.
It’s also appropriate that it’s a highway. Because of Sgt. Price, and millions like him, we have freedoms, including the freedom to travel wherever and whenever we desire.
He made the ultimate sacrifice for every American who travels the Charles Price III Memorial Highway. And for every American who never will.—M.B.