Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Michigan considering
Pearl Harbor highway

Associated Press

PERRY, Mich. >> As the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor nears, Michigan is considering naming a stretch of Interstate 69 the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway.

State Rep. Larry Julian proposed naming a 30-mile stretch of I-69 from Perry to Flint named in honor of those who died in the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack.

A bill sailed through the state House and Senate last year but was not signed by Gov. John Engler. Julian said Engler mistakenly thought that portion of the highway was already named and did not want to rename it.

Julian reintroduced the bill this year and said he expects the House to vote on it June 19. He said he has received assurances from the governor's office that Engler will sign it.

If the bill passes, John E. Sterling of Livonia said he plans to drive his older brother's Monterey blue, 1941 Buick down the Pearl Harbor Memorial Highway. Gordon Sterling was killed at Pearl Harbor.

John Sterling, 77, and other members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association lobbied for some sort of state recognition for the 63 Michigan residents who died and those who survived the attack.

"It was just something I picked up," Sterling told the Detroit Free Press. "All these other states had highways and bridges named to honor those at Pearl Harbor, and I just couldn't understand why Michigan hadn't done anything."

Sterling was instrumental in getting Connecticut, where he used to live, to name a section of a highway for those who fought at Pearl Harbor.

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