(WBIR - Knoxville, TN) More than 55,000 vehicles cross the Buck Karnes Bridge on the Alcoa Highway in Knoxville on a daily basis. Starting Monday, the bridge will spell out exactly why the structure that crosses the Tennessee River is named for James Ernest "Buck" Karnes.
Buck Karnes was Knox County's first Medal of Honor recipient. He earned the nation's highest decoration for military valor on a battlefield in France during World War I. Karnes returned to his hometown a hero and the bridge was named in his honor in 1933.
However, the current signage on the bridge merely reads "JE 'Buck' Karnes Bridge" with no mention of his military bravery.
Monday the bridge will be rededicated with a new sign that adds the distinction, "Medal of Honor Recipient." The sign will be unveiled during a ceremony at 11 a.m.