Crowd standing for national anthem at Joseph Marthaler Memorial Bridge dedication ceremony.

Dedication of the Joseph Marthaler Memorial Bridge

Thanks to Jameson’s Irish Bar for their support.

Private Joseph G. Marthaler

A ceremony today at the West St. Paul Sports Complex dedicated the Highway 52 bridge over Wentworth Avenue as the Private Joseph G. Marthaler Memorial Bridge. A large crowd came out for the ceremony and picnic, which included remarks from State Senator Matt Klein and State Representative Rick Hansen, who sponsored the legislation naming the bridge.

“Bridges have always inspired the hopes of people,” said Father Patrick Kennedy, chaplain at Cretin-Derham Hall.

Joseph G. Marthaler

Born in 1924, Joseph Marthaler grew up on a West St. Paul farm close to where the Wentworth Avenue bridge stands today. The sixth child of nine siblings, Marthaler attended St. Matthews and graduated from Cretin-Derham in 1942.

He enlisted with the Marines in 1943 and began training. In January 1945, he began the journey to Iwo Jima. Late afternoon on February 20, Marthaler’s regiment began digging in for the night when they were attacked. Joseph Marthaler was killed in the bombardment, one of 6,821 Americans killed at Iwo Jima. He is buried in the family plot at Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights.

“Memorials are needed for those of us who weren’t here,” said Hansen. “It’s important for us as Minnesotans and as Americans to memorialize that sacrifice.”

Senator Matt Klein and Representative Rick Hansen at the dedication ceremony for the Joseph Marthaler Memorial Bridge.

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