Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday signed a legislation officially renaming Wabasha's Interstate Bridge the "Michael Duane Clickner Memorial Bridge." Clickner was a 1967 graduate of Wabasha High School and was the only Wabasha resident to die in the Vietnam War.
Clickner's younger brother Bill Clickner said the family is thrilled by the bridge renaming.
"We are ecstatic and humbled by the news," he said.
In a statement, DFL Gov. Mark Dayton praised Clickner's service.
"Sergeant Michael Duane Clickner served our state and nation with great courage. This bridge will always honor him and his heroism," Dayton said.
Clickner's childhood friend Bill Hager led the push to rename the bridge in his honor. He was inspired after he traveled to the South and saw bridges and overpasses named for soldiers killed during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Clickner enlisted in the Army and served as a member of Company A, 3rd Battalion, 503rd Infantry. He was about to head home after completing a tour of duty in Vietnam when he was killed after a booby trap was triggered while he was training in his replacement. He died April 11, 1970 at the age of 21.
Supporters of the bridge renaming project still need to raise the $992 to install a sign in Clickner's honor by the bridge. His brother said his family is prepared to do what they can to help raise the money.
He added it seems appropriate that this honor for his brother would become final shortly before Memorial Day. Bill Clickner said that while the bridge will bear his brother's name, in many ways it is really about recognizing all of the 58,000 Vietnam veterans who never came home.
"Even though the bridge is renamed for him, there were a lot of families that suffered the grief and loss as we did," Clickner said.