Laurel highway being renamed to honor Pearl Harbor veterans

A stretch of Highway 532 in Laurel is being renamed today.  It will be called Pearl Harbor Veterans Memorial Highway.

Many World War II veterans are laid to rest in the Yellowstone National Cemetery just east of the highway. The highway name change is a way to honor and remember them.

One veteran who is laid to rest in the cemetery is World War II veteran Ed Chlapowski. He is a Pearl Harbor survivor who passed away eight years ago.

Lt. Colonel Sue Gillespie is Ed Chlapowski's daughter. She says the renaming of the highway may help people remember and talk about what happened at Pearl Harbor.

Gillespie said, "With a sign up, if you are driving by, it might bring inquiry in young minds. And, they might ask, "Well, what was Pearl Harbor?"

She added, "We're free because of the veterans that we have. I mean, not just the Pearl Harbor veterans, but of course, the current veterans that we have today."

Gillespie says there are only two Pearl Harbor survivors still living in the state of Montana. She says veterans never want people to forget we have the freedom that we have because they fought hard for it.

The ceremony to rename the highway starts today at noon. It will be at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel. The public is welcome to attend.

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