LANSING, Mich., June 9, 2023 — The Michigan House Committee on Transportation, Mobility, and Infrastructure passed House Bill 4337 earlier this week. The bill would amend a portion of M-50 in Eaton County currently named the “Ensign Francis Flaherty Memorial Highway” to be named the “Ensign Francis Flaherty Medal of Honor Recipient Memorial Highway.”

Ens. Francis Flaherty received the Medal of Honor for remaining in a turret holding a flashlight on his capsizing ship, the USS Oklahoma, during the attack on Pearl Harbor, so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, sacrificing his own life. Flaherty was initially buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. In 2019, the Navy was able to identify his remains with help from DNA analysis, and he was finally laid to rest in his hometown of Charlotte. The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township), issued the following statement on its passage out of committee:

“Ens. Flaherty is a model for us all. When his ship was struck, imperiling the lives of his fellow officers, he made the ultimate sacrifice to help others survive. Ens. Flaherty’s selfless devotion to duty reminds us of the importance of being of service to others and our country. I hope this commemoration will honor his legacy and remind motorists of one of Michigan’s great heroes.”