Sitting on our state’s fairgrounds is a train car with an written explanation.
This train car grabbed my attention. After learning more about it, it grabbed my heart. For it proves that even after things as senseless and barbaric as war, there is love.
In 1947, after World War II, $40 million in relief supplies were sent to France and Italy by Americans. Seven hundred carloads of food, fuel, and clothing, donated by the citizens of the United States brought relief toward Europe.
In response, two years later, a French rail worker and war veteran initiated a French thank you train project. The Gratitude Train, a gift from France, contained 49 box cars, each filled with gifts to the people of the United States from the people of France. Those cars were distributed to our states.
In a world where war is threatened and hate often seems rewarded, I am drawn to the generosity and gratitude expressed between two countries and their people.
Love and hope ring loudly through the actions shown in this little known part of history. I cling to the goodness of humanity shown here, knowing it still exists in many, if not most, people. It’s a story worth telling and retelling.
Some states’ boxcars have been destroyed or lost; but most states still have one, and the location of yours can be found at this website: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merci_Train
I hope that the picture of this train car and the story summary behind it give you an interest in knowing more, and that it provides encouragement to you in the circumstances of our world and even in your own difficult personal situations.
Love is found in surprising places.