Posts Tagged ‘Evert L. Nylund Jr.’

Is It Him? Most Likely

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

By Jeffrey Page

When I was a kid, my mother told me of the death in World War II of someone called Everett Nighland. Or was it Highland? Everett, she told me, was my brother’s Army buddy and while there is no good day to die, Everett demonstrated the idiocy of war for the people who do the fighting; he was shot to death in Italy, my mother said, on the day the war ended.

By the spring of 1945, Everett and my brother Gerry had been separated by half of Europe. Gerry, having survived the Battle of the Bulge, was in Germany. Everett was in Italy at a place called Il Poggio, where American troops seemed to be having a fairly easy time – if there is ever such a thing in combat as a fairly easy time – of displacing a German rear guard. But one shot hit Everett and he became the only member of his platoon to be killed at Il Poggio.

I don’t recall Gerry’s ever saying a word about Everett after the war. The little information I got from my mother was the extent of my knowledge of Everett Nighland. What has always stuck with me about him was the cruel timing of his death.

With the holiday coming up, I’ve been thinking about Veterans Day, which of course led to thoughts of Gerry, who died a couple of years ago, which in turn led to thoughts about Everett, the mysterious end-of-the-war casualty, the young man who died before he ever had a chance to vote.

I ran Everett Nighland’s name through a couple of genealogical web sites and found a reference to a soldier named Evert (not Everett) L. Nylund (not Nighland or Highland) Jr., who was 20 years old in 1945 (same age as Gerry) and who hailed from Brooklyn (same as Gerry). Just a coincidence, but maybe not.

A little more searching revealed that Sgt. Evert L. Nylund Jr. – Protestant, unmarried, high school graduate – was killed on April 19, 1945, precisely 19 days before V-E Day.

Eventually I wound up at a web site of the old Brooklyn Eagle where, in a list of war casualties, I came across one particular notice.

“In sad and loving memory of our only child, Evert L. Nylund Jr.,” it read. “Killed in action in Italy, April 19, 1945. Always in our thoughts.”

It was signed “Mom and Dad.”

This many years after April 19 in 1945 I take some time to remember Evert and his parents who were deprived of their only child by an insane world, whose wars show no sign of letting up.