Memorial signs honoring a Massaponax High School graduate who passed on a football scholarship to serve his country during wartime were dedicated during a ceremony earlier today on the 19th anniversary of 9/11. Several speakers offered words to the family of Corporal Ryan McGhee during a private ceremony held at 10 a.m., Friday, September 11, 2020, at the Massaponax High School football stadium before memorial signs on the nearby Interstate 95 overpass on Guinea Station Road in Spotsylvania were unveiled by the Virginia Department of Transportation.
"There is no day more fitting than today on the anniversary of 9/11 to honor the selfless acts of Army Ranger CPL Ryan McGhee, who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country during Operation Iraqi Freedom," said Lee Hill Representative Gary Skinner, Chairman of the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors. "CPL McGhee bravely answered the call to defend our freedoms and serves as a shining example of all that it means to be a true American. The signs dedicated here today in his honor stand as testament to his heroic actions while paying tribute to his courageous sacrifice."
"The greatest fear for Gold Star families is that their fallen hero’s memory and sacrifice will be forgotten," said Sherrie McGhee, mother of CPL Ryan McGhee. "The dedication of this bridge in memory of my son, Army Ranger CPL Ryan Casey McGhee will ensure his sacrifice for our freedom is not forgotten. Rangers Lead the Way!"
John 15-13: "’Greater love has no one than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends," said State Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania), quoting the Bible. "As a fellow Army Ranger, I understand and thank CPL McGhee for giving his last full measure to his country and fellow Rangers. May his name and sacrifice be remembered for the ages."
CPL Ryan McGhee was serving his fourth deployment in support of the Global War on Terror on May 13, 2009, when he was killed at age 21 by small arms fire after his unit came under enemy attack while conducting combat operations in central Iraq. He graduated from Massaponax High School in 2006, and was named second team all-state honors as a defensive lineman on the football team, earning a partial college scholarship. The events of 9/11 motivated him to answer the call to defend our nation, and he enlisted in the United States Army August 1, 2006. He went on to graduate from Ranger School and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia. CPL McGhee served three previous deployments to Afghanistan before his final deployment to Iraq. His numerous military awards and decorations include the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at its January 14, 2020, meeting to approve a resolution to fund and maintain the memorial signs, as well as authorize VDOT to make and install them. The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation sponsored by Senator Reeves in February 2020, designating the overpass as the CPL Ryan C. McGhee Memorial Bridge.