Editor’s note: This content was originally posted on the Eddyline Owners Group Facebook Page by Feezbook Pieter C., a long-time Equinox owner from Nijmegen, Netherlands.
“American paddling heroes.
I’ve made the crossing of the river Waal near Nijmegen today, as I often do. Our club’s boathouse is located in the north bridgehead of the old bridge. As most of this group are living in the US, I would like to share this story of American heroic paddling and the way the story has its place nowadays.
On the 20th of September 1944 there was heavy fighting around the Nijmegen bridge in an attempt to make a way free over the bridge to Arnhem. There was a very daring plan to capture the bridges 1 and 2 (as shown in the picture), by crossing the river with 26 small canvas boats (at point 3), it was tasked to 260 airborne troopers to try to achieve this under very heavy German machine gun fire. They made 5 crossings in which half of this force reached the other side of the river, rifles were used if paddles were lost. Though fourty-eight of these men were killed in action, paratroopers managed to capture both bridges.
Presently these heroic American soldiers are honored on a daily basis. At the place of the crossing there is a beautiful new bridge by the name of Oversteek, which means the crossing. Beside that, 48 pairs of lights on the bridge remember each soldier. They light up in slow march tempo from south to north at sunset. Every evening this ceremony is guided by a military veteran who crosses the bridge in the same tempo as the lights go on, and brings his salute at the monument. Being aware of what happened here, young and old living continue to remember the soldiers.
I was brought up by a father who was an Interallied Commando (nr 2 Dutch troop IA nr 10). My mother’s roots are Scottish. I’ve played a great deal of remembrances on Highland Bagpipes.
Another story of where our beloved Eddyline kayak paddles. “
For more first-person stories from Eddyline paddlers around the world, check out the Eddyline Owners Group Facebook Page!