November 11, 2010
'VETERANS DAY 2010'
Today Opelika celebrated one of our own.....Col. Robert L. Howard
Citizens gathered at the Veterans Memorial Monument at City Hall in Downtown Opelika to honor our military men and
women who have served our city and country so bravely over the years. A very impressive and special ceremony
was held to pay tribute to Col. Robert Howard. He was the most decorated soldier of the Vietnam War and was also an
Opelika native. Col. Howard passed away December 24, 2009. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the military's
highest award for valor, Col. Howard received two awards of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, the Defense
Superior Service Medal, four awards of the Legion of Merit, four Bronze Star Medals and eight Purple Hearts. He was
wounded fourteen times during the Vietnam War.
Howard (known as Bobby during his school years)attended Opelika
Elementary Schools and Clift High, but dropped out of high school and joined the army at an early age. He later earned
his bachelors degree and two masters degrees....and served in the U.S. Army for thirty-six years.
Governor Bob Riley was the keynote speaker and commented on how proud he was to pay tribute to one of Alabama's and America's
most highly decorated heros. Representative Mike Hubbard was also on hand to pay tribute as was the family of Col. Howard.
A plaque was placed at the monument honoring Col. Howard and beginning November 11, the bridge crossing Interstate
85 at the Tiger Town exit will be called the Colonel Robert L. Howard Bridge.