These remarks were written and read by Terry's son Bryan at the Terry E. Haskins Memorial Bridge dedication ceremony on January 10, 2005.

Bryan Haskins

Thank you all for being here today.   I know that I echo the thoughts and feelings of my mother and brothers when I say that we are truly honored to have all of you here to witness this dedication.  One definition of a bridge, according to Merriam-Webster, is----a time, place, or means of connection or transition. Today we come together to dedicate a bridge, a means of connection between two opposite ends.

What is significant about this dedication is that the man honored by this ceremony was also a bridge---a political bridge.  He used his influence and abilities of persuasion to unite two opposing sides so that they could reach a compromise and bridge the gap between their differences.  One of the most famous examples of his ability in action was the Confederate flag debate.  I was going through my father’s suits one day and found a piece of paper in the inside of one of his jacket pockets.  On that paper, he had jotted down a brief outline for a speech that he gave on the amendment to the Confederate flag bill.  The amendment dealt with moving the Confederate flag to its current location behind the Confederate Soldiers monument. The talking points listed in the outline show the way that he made sure to include items to suit members and citizens on both sides of the issue.  Most of the points refer to terms such as, and I quote: “mutual respect,” “broader support” of the issue, and “respect for all citizens.”  This resolution to this issue became one of the landmark compromises that he helped establish.

Even today, as I work in Columbia, many of his friends and former colleagues often stop me to tell a story about his ability to overcome party boundaries to achieve the greater good.  Those who recount his stories ensure that everyone listening does not forget the amazing legislative influence and ability that he possessed.  His work on compromises led him to become one of the most respected legislators in the state.  He challenged the norm of political lines and often would cross them so that everyone could benefit from a certain issue.  There were even times he would introduce ideas that neither side would initially agree with. Then he would start to explain his logic behind these ideas.  He would outline the positive and negative for both sides and show how his idea for compromise would bridge the differences, achieve common objectives, and create universal solutions.

The masterful way he thought and processed problems was only a fraction of the work on how he dealt with issues. Some of his most beloved friends were those on the opposite side of the aisle. He became their “go-to” guy.  They knew that if they came to him and explained what they were trying to accomplish, he would try his best to facilitate those needs.  His friendly demeanor and straightforward attitude won him the respect necessary for breaking the party lines and achieving encompassing legislation.

His colleagues felt that he should be memorialized by honoring him with this symbol of gratitude.  The two main sponsors who introduced this resolution were Speaker Wilkins and the Honorable Rick Quinn.  This past spring, I had the privilege of being present in both chambers while the resolution was unanimously adopted.  I was personally overwhelmed as a democrat Senator rose to speak in favor of the resolution.  It was a testimony to the lasting respect that he earned through his years of service.

The bridge that we dedicate today will not only bear his name, it will be a representation of how he served his beloved state and its great citizens.  It is a small token of our respect for a lifetime of service and overtaking challenges greater than one man.  Thank you.

Watch incredibly poignant news coverage of Terry's passing

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