Sunset March Veterans, especially Kees Bleijerveld, Partners, and citizens of Nijmegen,
Sergeant William (Bill) Emil Kero, 82nd Airborne Division 307 Engineer Battalion Co C, was killed in action on September 20th, 1944, during the liberation of Nijmegen, fighting for the freedom of future generations. The oldest of seven children, from an American (Saxon, Wisconsin) farming family of Finnish descent, who previously lost his mother when he was 14 years old, courageously fought alongside his fellow brothers in arms in the largest airborne operation up until that point in WWII. For his extraordinary heroism, he was posthumously awarded a Distinguished Service Cross and Ridder vierde klasse der Militaire Willems Orde.
On his 97th birthday, representing the Kero family, I paid sincerest respects, to an uncle I had never met, by symbolically crossing the Waal river, during a Sunset March, bearing witness to his heroic “Sisu”, and then offering prayers for the 49 venerated soldiers voor hun Moed – Beleid – Trouw (for their Bravery – Leadership – Loyalty).
Please know that the Kero family is extremely honored, and deeply moved, by the touching memorial established by the citizens of Nijmegen. We are also truly humbled by the continued dedication to both remember and honor the fallen through the Sunset March. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to ensure that this significant piece of history is never forgotten.
Robert Emil Kero (son of Robert Herman Kero, USN WWII)