PERRY HALL — Driving along Route 43, you can’t miss the signs — the Belair Road bridge crossing 43 is now dedicated to Army Ssg. Christopher O. Moudry and Sgt. Eric M. Houck, two fallen soldiers from Perry Hall.

Moudry died on October 4, 2006 in Taji, Iraq while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Houck died on June 10, 2017 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan while serving in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

The bridge was formally dedicated on Saturday at a ceremony hosted by Perry Hall Improvement Association President Jack Amrhein and Councilman David Marks. Dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of the nearby American Freight store to honor the two men.

“We make that promise to not forget, and that’s why we’re here,” Amrhein said. “We’re going to keep that promise.”

Moudry graduated from Perry Hall High School in the mid-1990s. He was a cross country athlete alongside Councilman Marks, a member of Scout Troop 746 and a big Star Trek fan. He was 31 when he and three other soldiers were killed, and is survived by three children.

Moudry’s sister spoke at the ceremony, thanking folks for supporting their family but stating that it’s hard to find the right words to say. Instead, she read a letter from her sister-in-law who now lives in Arizona, including a message addressed directly to Moudry.

“Chris, your kiddos are beautiful adults now,” she read. “One day, your kiddos can take literal footsteps across this bridge in your honor and stand proud in your memory.”

Houck also attended Perry Hall High School, though he graduated almost two decades after Moudry. He married his highschool sweetheart and is survived by two children. He was 25.

Mike Houck, Eric’s father, noted the significance of having his son’s name memorialized so prominently on the roadway where folks will see it for years to come.

“Maybe they’ll look them up, maybe they won’t, but they’ll say their names,” he said. “They’ll never die as long as people are saying their names.”

Amrhein said that the dedication of the Belair Road bridge was seven years in the making.

“This was a project that I started as a concept,” Amrhein said. “It was just a dream.”

He said that it was a collaborative effort with the partnership of Councilman Marks and assistance from state legislators, who helped secure permission from the Maryland Roads Commission to use the bridge.

Some of those legislators were in attendance on Saturday, including District 8 Delegates Harry Bhandari, Joseph Boteler III and Carl Jackson and District 7 Delegate Lauren Arikan, all of whom shared remarks honoring Moudry and Houck.

Marks also ensured that the families of the Houck and Moudry received miniature signs to take home. He commended the residents of Perry Hall for coming together to share the memory of the fallen soldiers. Looking around the crowd, there were Perry Hall High School alumni, folks from the American Legion and friends and family who knew Moudry and Houck.

“It’s a testament to this community that so many people are here today,” Marks said. “We don’t forget our roots, we love one another and we take care of each other.”

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