With the Memorial Day weekend upon us, I reflect on the many military history books I've read over the years. Several come to mind, but one in particular expressed a deep sense of community. A sense of purpose; To come together either in tough times as in the recent tornado ravaged towns of Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL or for a common cause.
Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen is an example of how a small town, North Platte Nebraska, came together for a common cause: to support the millions of soldiers in WW II.
From December 1941 til the end of WW II, the citizens of North Platte greeted millions of soldiers as they traveled on troop trains through their beloved town. Bob Greene's heartwarming story is based on eye witness accounts of how the Canteen greeted these many soldiers as they journeyed onward to places unknown.
The Canteen, established through the transformation of the train depot, provided a respite to their long journey and the opportunity to grab a home cooked meal, read a newspaper or magazine or two, or listen to some music. This station of support was staffed and funded by the twelve thousand citizens of North Platte and opened at 5am til midnight or until the last train went through.
Through interviews with citizens of North Platte and GI's, Bob Greene brings to light the art of patriotism, volunteering and helping others.
A short inspirational read that may leave you wondering, how can I help?