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I-70 Twin Tunnels officially re-named to Veterans Memorial Tunnels

Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander, speaks to the audience during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander, speaks to the audience during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander, speaks to the audience during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander, speaks to the audience during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander, speaks to the audience during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander, speaks to the audience during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

Colorado military veterans stand at attention while holding American Flags during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

Colorado military veterans stand at attention while holding American Flags during the I-70 Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

“Lefty” Yost, a Korean War veteran who helped build the original Twin Tunnels, cuts the ribbon during the Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

“Lefty” Yost, a Korean War veteran who helped build the original Twin Tunnels, cuts the ribbon during the Twin Tunnel re-naming ceremony Sept. 11, 2015, in Idaho Springs, Colo. Colorado State Legislature passed the bill in April 2015 to re-name the tunnels to recognize and remember the nation’s military veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Samantha Meadors/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Clear Creek County and Colorado Department of Transportation officials re-named the Twin Tunnels on I-70 to Veterans Memorial Tunnels during a ceremony held Sept. 11 in Idaho Springs, Colorado.

In April 2015, Colorado State Legislature passed the bill to rename the I-70 Twin Tunnels to recognize and remember the nation's military veterans.

Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander, spoke during the event, highlighting the importance of the name change, in light of Sept.11.

"It's fitting we have this ceremony today on Patriot Day, as we remember the tragedies of being attacked the morning of September 11, 2001,  along with the true American heroes who emerged that day and in the weeks, months and years that followed. Our world changed in an instant, and our veterans responded, just as they did in 1941, 1950, 1965, 1991, and whenever our country asked them to serve."

Wagner also honored the fallen heroes and their ultimate contributions to the country.

"It is difficult when you know how awesome these warriors were as people - sons, dads, brothers, sisters, daughters and mothers -- and how their amazing contributions to our military would have transitioned to continued incredible contributions to our nation and our communities had they returned," Wagner said. "We are carrying on. There will be more Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who follow in service and sacrifice.  But we must never forget the brave warriors we lost, learn from their example, understand what they stood for, and appreciate their legacy of honor."

The event featured the 101st Army Band, military veterans, and keynote remarks by distinguished guests such as Michael Hillman, City of Idaho Springs mayor and Shailen Bhatt, Colorado Department of Transportation executive director.

Tim Mauck, Clear Creek County Commissioner, spoke on the tunnel's powerful contribution to the county of Clear Creek.

"The Veterans Memorial Tunnels are a significant achievement for Clear Creek County and Colorado," Mauck said.  "Not only do we honor our many veterans who have served our nation so well for so long, but we officially complete a critical transportation improvement between the Denver Metropolitan Area and the Rocky Mountains," he added.

The re-naming ceremony was followed by a small reception and silent parade to remember all those who had given the ultimate sacrifice.

"I again thank each and every one of you for being here today and honoring Coloradans who raised their right hand and swore to defend our Constitution," Wagner said to the audience. "You are also honoring every American who served and fought, despite the conditions, especially when it was unpopular. I thank you for honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country."
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