Almost five years ago, I wrote a column calling for an end to the practice of naming buildings, highways, and especially bridges after politicians. Instead, I suggested a Bridge Naming Lottery where everyone has a chance of being honored.
Now, politicos in Missouri and Illinois are talking about what to name the new bridge over the Mississippi River — the one that hasn’t even been built yet. According to Ken Leiser of the Post-Dispatch, legislators want to name it after two long-serving members of Congress from the bi-state: “The Jerry F. Costello/William Lacy “Bill” Clay Sr. Veterans Memorial Bridge.”
That just trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?
Leiser asked readers of his column to come up with suggestions for bridge names, and neither Costello nor Clay was even mentioned. There was support for the Dred Scott Bridge, the Stan Musial Bridge, and the Women Veterans Memorial Bridge, but no one wanted to name it after another politician.
If they don’t want to go with my Bridge Naming Lottery concept, then here’s my fallback suggestion. If you’re going to honor any group of public servants, go with the one that could really use the morale boost.
Name it Teachers Bridge.
To my knowledge, there isn’t a single highway or bridge named for a teacher in this area. Name it collectively for all the hard-working educators who toil in our schools every year. Honor their role in educating America. Do it now, at a time when teachers need it.
Not to mention the money we’ll save on smaller signs when we only have to paint two words instead of eleven.