Nijmegen, The Netherlands – On Saturday, Mayor Hubert Bruls of Nijmegen has presented the city’s silver medal of honour to Team 31, an international group of veterans that, since 2014, has been providing a daily tribute to the American allies who liberated Nijmegen in the Second World War.
Members of Team 31 walk the Sunset March every day at sunset over De Oversteek (The Crossing), a bridge over the Waal near Nijmegen. The Sunset March is now part of the intangible world heritage of UNESCO.
De Oversteek was built on the spot where the historic Waalcrossing took place in 1944. At the Waalcrossing 48 Americans were shot dead when they tried to cross the Waal in canvas boats. The crossing was very important for the liberation of the Netherlands.
On the bridge, 48 pairs of lampposts light up in marching pace in memory of the Americans of the 82nd Airborne Division. Since October 19, 2014, every night a group of people has walked across the bridge to “bring a bridge to all veterans in all missions around the world, who fight and have fought for freedom”. Government leaders, administrators and celebrities from all over the world have taken part in the Sunset March, but everyone can join every day.
Tim Ruijling, creator of the Sunset March, receives the medal of honour on behalf of Team 31. Air Force veteran Ruijling (70) will retire on Saturday as chairman of the Sunset March foundation.