GALLIPOLIS — State Representative Ryan Smith is set to speak at the Silver Bridge Memorial on Dec. 15 at Bossard Memorial Library. The Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau is teaming up wth Bossard and the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce to honor the 50th anniversary of the Silver Bridge collapse.
“I am honored to be asked to speak at the event,” said Smith. “It’s not the easiest thing to speak at, but I think it’s a fitting memorial.”
While the West Virginia Division of Highways is planning an event on that same day in Point Pleasant prior to the event in Gallipolis, the visitors bureau wanted to do something simple in Gallia County for those who lost their lives that day.
“While it happened 50 years ago the emotions are still very raw with many people. I’m only 44 years old but I’ve talked to enough people and you can see the pain in their eyes of what happened,” said Smith. ‘“It’s a tragedy.”
Part of the memorial service in Gallipolis will be a display of written accounts of that day by anyone that has memories and can recount the events of the collapse. They will tell the different stories of people’s memories of that day from their individual perspective, with the hope of understanding how the collapse initially affected Gallia County.
Also on display that day will be images from Dec. 15, 1967, of the bridge played on the projection screen in the River Room. Part of the evening will include a reading of the names of those who died in the collapse and recounts of that day.
“The main goal is to honor the 46 that died on that day,” said Kaitlynn Halley, assistant director at the visitors bureau. “We wanted to choose something simple and respectful.”
The ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 15 in the Riverside Room at Bossard, with refreshments available. To learn more about the event, contact the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 740-446-6882 or visit it at 441 Second Avenue in Gallipolis.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342.