House Approves Legislation to Commemorate World War Two Hero Markkanen

State Rep. Greg Markkanen recently introduced a bill to rename a section of M-26 in Houghton County as the Private Wesley Karna Memorial Highway. The legislation, House Bill 5462, received unanimous support from lawmakers. Private Wesley Karna was born in 1922 in Painesdale, Michigan to Finnish immigrant parents and later served in the Fifth Army, 91st Infantry, 362nd Regiment, F Company during World War II.

Karna’s sacrifice was emphasized by Markkanen during the debate on the bill. He pointed out that despite having the opportunity to live a traditional American life, Karna chose to serve his country and fight for freedom. The renaming of this highway is a tribute not only to him but also to all those who have fought for our country’s values and ideals.

The bill passed through the House Transportation Committee with flying colors and will now move on to the State Senate for further consideration. During the committee meeting, Brad Uren, Private Karna’s great-nephew shared an emotional story about how an Italian historian found his uncle’s canteen buried for over 80 years after being killed in action while fighting against the Gothic Line in Italy. This discovery led Uren and his family to learn more about his uncle’s service and sacrifice which inspired them to support this bill wholeheartedly.

House Bill 5462 has received widespread support from local authorities and is now just one step away from becoming law. People who are interested in learning more about this bill or wish to testify before it passes can find all relevant information in the Transportation Committee’s records

By Sophia Gonzalez

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