The footbridge that Belfast residents rallied to save and renovate a few years ago was officially re-dedicated and christened with its new name, Armistice Bridge, at a ceremony Friday, Oct. 8.

And thanks to the efforts of the citizens group Friends of the Bridge, the span now includes a reproduced a bronze plaque that lists the names of the 55 soldiers from Waldo County who died during World War I. The plaque that once graced the old footbridge had been missing since the 1960s.

Friday’s celebration marked 89 years to the day since the footbridge was first dedicated in 1921, said Friends of the Bridge member and event co-organizer Tammy Lacher-Scully.

At that time the footbridge was dedicated as the Veterans Memorial Bridge. During the 1960s, however, it was no longer used for vehicular traffic and Belfast’s larger span took the name Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Gov. John E. Baldacci and Col. John “Jack” Mosher, director of operations for the Maine Army National Guard, veteran of the war in Afghanistan and a native of Burnham, took part in the unveiling of the new plaque. The plaque was made possible through the fundraising efforts of Friends of the Bridge, which raised the $4,000 needed to reproduce the original plaque.

The celebration drew many members of the community, including descendants of two of the men whose names are included on the plaque. Also present were City Manager Joe Slocum, City Councilors Michael Hurley, Marina Delune and Lew Baker, who is  running for the House District 43 seat in the Legislature. Baker’s opponent in the District 43 race, Erin Herbig, also attended the event, as did District 23 State Senate candidate Mike Thibodeau, members of the VFW color guard and the American Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary.

Along with Lacher-Scully, Francis Marsano represented Friends of the Bridge during the opening remarks at the ceremony.

During her address, Lacher-Scully recalled how sad it was to see the old footbridge deteriorate, and how uplifting it was to see the people of Belfast show their willingness to save the structure through a vote to restore the span in 2004. The footbridge was completed and re-opened in 2006.

“Not only have we saved this bridge, but today, we re-dedicate it,” she said.

Mosher drew attention to the fact that there are only three living World War I veterans left in the world, and stressed the importance of remembering the sacrifices and service of the many men who served alongside them.

Baldacci echoed that sentiment during his address.

“I think you’re sending a message here in Waldo County, because you haven’t forgotten World War I,” he said.

Baldacci, Mosher, Marsano and Lacher-Scully led the crowd to the east side of the bridge, where the new war memorial was unveiled. The sight of the new plaque drew applause from the audience, after which Baldacci called for a moment of silence to remember the fallen soldiers.