A bridge dedication ceremony was held in honor of a 2004 McAlester High School graduate who was killed in 2010 while serving in Afghanistan.

Family, friends, and state and local leaders attended the ceremony held at the Oak Hill Cemetery in McAlester for the dedication in honor of Sgt. Jason McCluskey. Also in attendance were members of the McAlester Police Department Honor Guard and members of The Patriot Guard Riders. 

A giant American flag was also flown by the McAlester Fire Department near the bridge. 

McCluskey, a U.S. Army paratrooper, gave the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in action on Nov. 4, 2010 while serving his country in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

McAlester Mayor John Browne said McCluskey’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.

“It’s with extreme pride that we get to do this as part of the city of McAlester,” said Browne. “It’s a tremendous thing that Sgt. McCluskey did for McAlester and for America and our gratitude for his sacrifice and to the family’s sacrifice will be unending.”

McCluskey was born on Sept. 12, 1984 in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California and graduated from MHS in 2004 and enlisted into the U.S. Army in 2006. He was assigned to the 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, XVIII Airborne Corps out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

He died from injuries sustained after insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire and was awarded the two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star posthumously, along with other service medals and awards.

Sen. Larry Boggs, co-sponsored Senate Bill 641, which named the bridge over U.S. Highway 69 on U.S. Highway 270 the "Sgt. Jason McCluskey Memorial Bridge.” The bill was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on May 15.

Boggs recited McCluskey’s favorite quote by James Dean during his speech: “Dream as if you will live forever. Live as if you will die today.”

After Boggs’ speech, Browne proclaimed Nov. 4 “Sgt. Jason McCluskey Day” in the city of McAlester.

“Whereas, the honor, duty, and courage exemplified by Sgt. McCluskey are qualities that the foundations of America’s military forces are built upon; now therefore, for giving his life for this nation and in honor of his sacrifice and in his memory, I, John Browne, Mayor of the City of McAlester, Oklahoma, do hereby proclaim November 4, 2019 as Sgt. Jason McCluskey Day,” the proclamation states.

At the end of the reading of the proclamation, Browne thanked the family for their sacrifices.

“Thank you on behalf of the city of McAlester,” Browne said.

Contact Derrick James at djames@mcalesternews.com

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