ANGOLA, Ind.— The stretch of U.S. 20 running through Indiana is now officially the “Medal of Honor Memorial Highway.” A naming ceremony and sign unveiling, held Friday, Oct. 9, along U.S. 20 in Angola, Indiana, featured participation by federal, state and local officials, along with Hoosier veterans’ groups.
“Indiana is a state with a proud history of showing honor and respect to our nation’s veterans,” said Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “Naming U.S. 20 as the Medal of Honor Memorial Highway is a wonderful tribute to the men and women who protect our freedom and our country, and I’m so grateful to Rep. Zent and the veterans’ organizations that led this effort.”
State Rep. Denny Zent (R-District 51) led the naming effort in partnership with Indiana veterans’ organizations. Zent introduced legislation calling for the renaming of the highway, which was unanimously approved by the Indiana House and Senate during the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
By designating U.S. 20 as the Medal of Honor Memorial Highway, Indiana joins a national effort to unify the name of U.S. 20, which runs 3,365 miles from Boston, Massachusetts, to Newport, Oregon. Indiana is home to 156 miles of U.S. 20 and is the sixth state to formally adopt the Medal of Honor. Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska have named their sections, and efforts are underway in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts to name those portions of the highway.
“I’m proud that INDOT played a role in joining this national effort to pay tribute to our heroes,” said Joe McGuinness, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation (IDOT). “The freedoms we cherish as Americans would not exist without the extraordinary bravery and selfless sacrifices of Medal of Honor recipients and all our veterans.”
INDOT will place eight commemorative signs along the U.S. 20 route through Steuben, LaGrange, Elkhart, St. Joseph, LaPorte, Porter and Lake counties in Northern Indiana. Signs will be placed in the following locations:
- Westbound near the Ohio state line;
- Westbound after Interstate 69;
- Eastbound after Interstate 69;
- Eastbound after Elkhart County Road 17
- Westbound after U.S. 31 (West junction);
- Eastbound after Interstate 94 (Exit 22);
- Westbound after Interstate 94 (Exit 22); and
- Eastbound at the Lake/Porter County Line.
From the time the Medal of Honor was first presented, during the Civil War, through March 2020, 3,508 awards have been issued, with every state represented. As of October 2020, there are 68 living Medal of Honor recipients across the U.S. To earn the Medal of Honor, a member of the U.S. armed forces must act with “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during combat at the risk of one’s life against an enemy of the United States.”