Lincoln bridge to be named for National Guardsman killed in Afghanistan in 2011

LINCOLN, Neb. - A fallen Nebraska National Guardsman is being forever memorialized in his hometown. On March 31, Mayor Chris Beutler and others officially named the "Big X" crossing of Salt Creek Roadway and Antelope Valley Parkway as Staff Sergeant Patrick Hamburger Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac says it's of course an honor Hamburger's service, but also much more.

"It's for how he lived his life," he said. "For how he served his unit and for how he had the willingness to do whatever needed to be done to make sure his mission was complete."

Staff Sergeant Hamburger enlisted in the Nebraska Army National Guard as a flight engineer in 1998, a year before he graduated from Lincoln Southeast High School.

10/11 News talked with Hamburger's mom, Joyce Peck, following Friday's ceremony.

"It's a day filled with sorrow and joy," she said. "I'm glad the city finally got this through."

Hamburger was killed, along with 29 other Americans and eight Afghan soldiers after their helicopter was hit by insurgents in Afghanistan in August 2011. He's buried at Wyuka Cemetery.

Now, his name will forever grace a different part of town. According to the city of Lincoln, more than 35,000 vehicles pass through that north downtown intersection every day.

"It helps, it definitely helps," Peck said. "Now if every soldier could get a bridge so people could know how much they do to ensure our safety."