CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The Route 120 bridge, a prominent landmark in downtown Chappaqua, was dedicated Monday in honor of Army Staff Sgt. Kyu H. Chay, who was killed in 2006 by an explosion in Afghanistan.
Chay’s family, who moved from South Korea to the United States and came to the Mount Kisco area, owned a local dry cleaning business. His parents, Sam and Soon Chay, were on hand for the dedication, as was his brother, Kyu T. Chay. The dedication came in connection with New Castle's Memorial Day parade.
Several prominent officials, current and former, participated in the dedication events. Former Secretary of State (and local resident) Hillary Clinton was involved with a photos presentation, while Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino was involved in a presentation of a plaque. New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein was involved with the proclamation, while former state Assemblyman Robert Castelli was involved with a presentation of a bill for renaming the bride.
Dennis Higgins, who served with Chay and called him a “fellow black sheep,” read a biography about his wife, including his birth in 1972 and his emigration to the United States. He talked about how Chay, how graduated from SUNY Albany, left law school to join the army and that he wanted to become a linguist.
“Staff Sergeant Chay, due to his background in special forces, was an accomplished warrior. Moreover, he was equally adept in the world of linguistics and cryptology,” Higgins said.
Kevin Reilly, a friend of Chay’s, recalled that he loved to play sports, would praise his opponents and would play to win.
Speaking about his brother, Kyu T. Chay compared the connection that a bride provides between two places to the connections that he made.
“It was incredibly moving and his service to our country was so extraordinary,” Clinton said about the ceremony in response to a reporter’s question afterward.
Chay’s brother’s bridge comparison was of interest to Clinton, who attended the staff sergeant’s memorial service in 2006. Speaking in an interview after the dedication, she spoke favorably of the comparison and called him a “living symbol” of bridges between people.
Astorino, speaking in front of reporters, noted that shared birthday that Chay has with his daughter. He also called Chay’s history a “wonderful story.”