LANSING, Mich., Sept. 27, 2023 — The Michigan House of Representatives passed House Bill 4337 with strong bipartisan support. 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.”
“Our servicemen and service-women make incalculable sacrifices to protect our freedoms and help keep us safe,” said state Rep. Angela Witwer (Delta Township), the sponsor of the bill. “Through the addition of just a few words, we can better honor Ensign Flaherty’s heroism and self-sacrifice. The Medal of Honor is the greatest distinction our military can bestow. It’s important we properly recognize the achievement of this hometown and American hero.”
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 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.