Up & Coming Weekly

October 31, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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8 UCW November 1 - 7, 2023 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM FEATURE It was a reunion between two warriors — from two generations — from two continents. Royal Dutch Air Force Lt. Col. Tim Ruijling recently came to visit Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue and see for himself the Sunset March patterned after his own in Nijmegen that honors the sacrifice of 48 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division. It has been nearly 80 years since that fateful day of September 20, 1944 when our U.S. Army tried to hold off a Nazi invasion of the little Dutch town, the oldest in the Netherlands. It was a fierce gun battle on the Waal River at the Over- steek Bridge. When the bridge was rebuilt in Octo- ber 2013, it became the focal point for a tribute to those 48. Lt. Col. Ruijling is one of the original founders of the Sunset March estab- lished in 2014 for which a veteran, alone or with others, walks the bridge as 48 pairs of lights come on in sequence over 12 minutes. In prior interviews, Ruijling has said: "ey gave their lives to give us the way of life we have now. We have our freedom because of those 48 young men." "ere are still nights where you walk alone, and that's very special ... but it's also special that people from all over the world want to walk with you." Here at Fort Liberty, Donahue, the command- ing general of the 18th Airborne Corps, wants to recreate similar sentiment for our veterans, past and present. e half-mile pavement on the old Bragg Bou- levard features more than 30 markers highlight- ing the history of the Fort Bragg many of us have experienced. e Sunset Liberty March blends the legacy of Bragg with the future of Fort Liberty. Since the Sunset Liberty March launch on June 1, many of us have "walked the walk" at sunset. According to Donahue, sign-ups extend out to 2025. In Nijmegen, by Nov. 1, 2023, there will have been 3,300 consistent "walks" since it began Oct. 19, 2014. For the tenth anniversary, Ruijling has been invited to return to Fort Liberty for a joint memorial. On this recent visit, Ruijling shared the emo- tions he feels when he walks that bridge: his respect for those 48 soldiers and the leadership they demonstrated. For his efforts, the Dutch government has knighted him, such that he is now Sir Tim Ruijling, Lt. Col. of the Royal Dutch Air Force. To participate and be part of the legacy to-be- written about Fort Liberty, reserve your date for your Sunset Liberty March at www.sunsetliberty- march.com. March in honor of a veteran relative, a veteran neighbor, a veteran co-worker, yourself. Registrants will receive confirmation and the pre-sunset time to arrive. An officer will meet you at the Sunset Liberty March pillars on Honeycutt Road. Anyone can participate in the daily march, but one person is designated as the Liberty Marcher — who must be a current service member, vet- eran or Gold Star family member. Only the Liberty Marcher must pre-register. Community groups are encouraged to partici- pate. Non-DoD ID card holders can visit the All American Visitor Center to obtain a pass. Hours are 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. Vistors can also apply online for a visitor pass by visiting https://home.army. mil/liberty/ for more information. Founder of original Sunset March visits Fort Liberty by LINDA McALISTER Retired Royal Dutch Air Force Lt. Col. Tim Ruijling (left), founder of the Sunset March, stands beside Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps, Oct. 19. (Photos courtesy of Linda McAlister) LINDA MCALISTER, Marketing Associate. COMMENTS? editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Linda McAlister speaks to retired Royal Dutch Air Force Lt. Col. Tim Ruijling and Col. John Wilcox, Garrison Commander, Fort Liberty on Oct. 19. (Photo courtesy PAO) CW4 Yves Romain reads the Sunset Liberty March welcome on Oct. 19. Command Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Terry Ferrwick presents Sir Tim Ruijling, Royal Dutch Air Force Lt. Colonel, with a hand-made engraved gift box on Oct. 19.

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