After three consecutive legislative sessions, the bill finally received approval from the Senate on Thursday and it will need approval from the state House of Representative and be signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.
The town had already placed signage honoring Noonan on the bridge.
Noonan was drafted in 1968 and sent to Vietnam as a sergeant with the 9th Infantry Division. The Mount Greylock Regional High School graduate was under heavy fire in three battles and was twice wounded, the most serious injury being shot in the leg while in the Mekong Delta. He earned Combat Infantryman Badges, three Air Medals, two Purple Hearts, and a Vietnam Service Medal and three Bronze Stars for heroism among others. He returned home in 1969.
His picture and list of accomplishments current hang in the Board of Selectmen's office and his medals are on display in Town Hall. Resident Tom McKnight was a close friend of Noonan's and had petitioned the board for not only to name the bridge after him but also provided the medals for display.
"He was my best friend in Lanesborough. We grew up together. We played sports together," McKnight told the board back in October of 2012 when the Board of Selectmen approved his request to rename the bridge. "Nobody even knows that he is a town hero."
Noonan died on June 30, 1990. On the bridge now hangs his portrait and a list of his accomplishments.
A dedication reads:
"Courage, Sacrifice, Valor, Code of Honor, Loyalty.
Recognizing all the branches of our armed forces, men and women, who fight for America's Freedom and Principles throughout the World.
They served bravely and fought like tigers.
You don't have to be larger than life to be a hero, just larger than yourself.
One voice can make a difference.
Our Friend Was A Leader of Men. One of America's Best.
When you are not remembered, you never existed."
The legislation currently pending directs the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to erect and maintain additional signage in memory of Noonan. The bill was originally filed by the late state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi and former state Sen. Benjamin Downing. Cariddi and state Sen. Adam Hinds both filed the bill again this year and Cariddi had ushered it through the preliminary approvals.
Following Cariddi's death, Hinds and the Berkshire House delegation have been picking up her legislation.
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