By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — The Route 128 Extension is now a recognized Purple Heart Highway, and part of a road system that extends through 45 states and pays tribute to all of those veterans who received the Purple Heart after having been injured during their time in the service.
Local veterans, city and state officials and Congressman John Tierney all turned out at Gloucester’s City Hall Saturday for the formal dedication of the recognition, which covers the full extension of Route 128 from Grant Circle through Blackburn Circle and then down through the Eastern Avenue lights to East Main Street.
The naming came via a home-rule petition raised by former City Councilor John “Gus” Foote, a veteran and a Purple Heart recipient, and by current City Councilor Joe Ciolino. It was then approved by the full council and Mayor Carolyn Kirk, while the state legislation approving the designation was co-sponsored by state Sen. Bruce Tarr and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick on Aug. 16.
The recognition means that the Extension now joins with transportation elements in 45 states that collectively comprise the National Purple Heart Trail System.