Mina bridge dedicated to WWII soldier killed in action

Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A bridge south of Mina Lake on Highway 12 is now dedicated to U.S. Army First Class Private Cy Kaiser.

Since it was launched in 2019, the Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication Program has dedicated bridges to over 30 fallen heroes across the state. On Thursday, PFC Cy Kaiser joined the list.

PFC Kaiser grew up in Hoven, and married his wife Ruby in Aberdeen in 1942. Shortly after, he was drafted for World War II.

“He joined the Timberwolves. Right after D-Day, they went to France. He was killed taking the city of Eschweiler, and just a month later, Dad was born,” said Cheryl Kaiser, the granddaughter of PFC Kaiser.

Although PFC Kaiser never got to meet his only child, Cy Kaiser II, memories of the fallen soldier were kept alive.

”We’ve heard stories about him our whole lives. My grandma, his mom, had all sorts of letters and things like that that she kept in her cedar chest. I always called them her treasures. She would get them out and let us read them and tell us about them when we were little,” said Cheryl Kaiser.

Cy II put in an application for his father for the Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication Program last year and then got the news that the bridge on Highway 12 would soon be the home to a sign recognizing PFC Kaiser.

”When he shared it with me, I was just so proud. It’s really wonderful,” said Cheryl Kaiser.

Both Cheryl and Cy II have served their country, and they have passed on the importance of remembering those who gave their lives to the next generations as well.

“My generation, my children, and now even my grandchildren, we tell them stories of the soldiers and the civilians that served in World War II and the Greatest Generation. We’re just super proud of this happening to keep the story alive and keep it going,” said Cheryl Kaiser.

The program is a partnership between the South Dakota Departments of Veteran Affairs, Military, Transportation, and the Governor’s Office. SDDVA Secretary Greg Whitlock said they plan to dedicate around 12 bridges in the state to fallen heroes each year.

”Just to honor those individuals that gave their lives just means a lot. I think it just means a lot to the families to pay tribute, respect, and remembrance,” said Whitlock.

By the end of October, the DVA will be dedicating ten more bridges to fallen heroes across the state, and the deadline for next year’s application is April 1st.

The Kaisers recommend that anyone who wants to honor a loved one killed or missing in action apply for the program.

”Absolutely. If anybody is interested in having their loved one from World War II or anytime, any South Dakotan soldier that has fallen, they’re eligible for the program,” said Cheryl Kaiser.