The bridge crossing the Shawsheen River on The Great Road was dedicated posthumously Saturday in honor of decorated Vietnam War veteran Major Barry Seidman, a resident of Bedford for more than 40 years.
The event was held at noon at Veterans Memorial Park, a half-mile west of the bridge, and featured remarks by Congressman Seth Moulton, State Rep. Kenneth Gordon, Col. Taona Enriquez, and Seidman’s widow, Valerie.
Seidman joined the Air Force in 1962, and during his deployments in Vietnam, he collected more than 1,400 combat hours and more than 900 combat missions. He was awarded 36 air medals, each for its own act of bravery.
Gordon, in his remarks, highlighted the group effort – which he spearheaded – that led to the bridge dedication and explained how nobody, not even the major’s family, truly understood the magnitude of his bravery.
Enriquez, commander of the 66th Air Group at Hanscom Air Force Base, thanked Seidman for his bravery and explained why his honors were so significant. She detailed how he spent several missions flying his plane at a very low altitude to act as a decoy to protect troops on the ground.
The main message from Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq as a U.S. Marine Corps officer, was regret on how Vietnam soldiers were treated upon their return. He talked about how he took comfort in knowing that once he returned from service in Iraq, he would be greeted with open arms by his country. He offered remorse for the way that Vietnam soldiers were treated upon their arrival.
The final speaker of the day, Valerie Seidman, expanded on the words of Congressman Moulton. She told a story of how one day while flying with her husband on a commercial airliner, a flight attendant found he was a veteran and the passengers sang God Bless America to him and one other service member also on the flight.
She shared how this was the first time he was thanked for his service by the public and how emotional it was to both of them.
At the close of the dedication, Mrs. Seidman, her son Brian, and grandchildren unveiled a replica of the sign dedicating the bridge. Then they joined Police Sgt. Ronald Undzis in his cruiser for their first ride across the newly-dedicated bridge.