A sign was unveiled last month at the intersection of routes 104 and 62 (Second Street and Ferry Avenue) in Niagara Falls, marking the starting point of the newly named National Veterans Highway.
Earlier this year, the State Legislature approved a bill (S.6277-A/A.9939-A) designating all of State Route 62 in New York State as the National Veterans Highway. The measure was signed into law by Gov. David Paterson on July 30, 2010.
State Sen. George Maziarz joined two local veterans in unveiling the brown highway sign erected by the New York State Department of Transportation.
"We can never say 'thank you' to our veterans enough," said Maziarz, one of the bill's several co-sponsors from Western New York. "Route 62 stretches all the way across this great country - the country our veterans have served and defended so well. This road is dedicated to all veterans of all wars in all parts of the country. We hope this special designation will be conferred in other states so that every mile of Route 62 becomes a full part of the National Veterans Highway."
Joining Maziarz at the unveiling were Doug Woolley of Niagara Falls, the commandant of the Lt. Bobo Detachment of the Marine Corps League, and Bob Reed of the Sons of the American Legion Post 880 in Eden, whose advocacy spurred the state law that brought about the designation. Reed and his post are leading a national effort to have Route 62 named a National Veteran's Highway in each state the route passes through.
A second highway sign marking the National Veterans Highway has been erected on Route 62 near the New York-Pennsylvania border and will be dedicated in the spring.
Former Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte and Assemblyman Jack Quinn of Hamburg authored the legislation in the Assembly along with Senator William Stachowski in the Senate.
"I can't think of a better way to sign off than to honor the men and women of our Armed Forces with a gift designating Route 62 as a National Veteran's Highway," DelMonte said.
DelMonte said she hopes the designation of Route 62 as a National Veteran's Highway will create a familiarity similar to that linked with Route 66 and U.S. Route 1.
Route 62 runs from the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to Niagara Falls, entering the state from Pennsylvania in Chautauqua County. From there, Route 62 passes through Cattaraugus, Erie and Niagara counties, winding through the towns of Wheatfield and Niagara, and ending in Niagara Falls.