CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A handful of VIPs got a front-row view when the remainder of the Dick Henderson Bridge was demolished at 10 a.m. today.
These folks were in a reserved area on Center Street in Nitro between the stoplight and the railroad tracks, said Carrie Bly, spokesperson for the West Virginia Division of Highways.
That was where Jessica Taylor, a 10-year-old third-grader at Nitro Elementary, flipped the switch to set off the blast. She was selected for the honor from among 400 applicants at Nitro's elementary schools.
State Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox was in the area along with Thomas "Frosty" Walls, a 92-year-old World War II veteran.
Nine additional elementary school children were selected by random drawing to be included in the VIP area to witness the historical event.
The honorees are Holden Barry and Elizabeth Rucker from Cross Lanes Elementary; Logan Withrow from Rock Branch Elementary; and Brianne Adkins, Jordan Murphy, Ava Gunter, Aden Cook, William Craft and Anna Taylor, who is Jessica's twin sister, all from Nitro Elementary.
Nitro Mayor Dave Casebolt said the students filled out forms and the names were selected by random drawing at Tuesday's council meeting.
The mayor called the local VFW asking for a World War II veteran to be included in the ceremony, and Walls was recommended.
"We are bridging the gap between our greatest generation and our youngest," Casebolt said. "They need to understand the sacrifices those guys made. Freedom is not free."
The public was encouraged to gather at St. Albans Roadside Park for the best view of the demolition, Bly said.