Monday, March 7, 2011

Little known local history from far away.

I grew up knowing that the small town I lived in, McCook Nebraska, hosted an Army Air Base during the Second World War. this Base trained the crews of B-24's, B-17's and B-29's before they headed off to action around the world.

We used to head to this abandoned airfield when I was younger to see how fast we could get our cars rolling on the old flight line. I think I may have driven faster there than anywhere else. When I got married, I also learned that my wife's grandmother used to travel many miles to go to dances in McCook, the mecca of the mid-west.

What I didn't know about was some things that happened in another small town just a little north of where I lived. North Platte Nebraska is about 60 miles north of McCook and we would plan trips up there every once in a while to go to the mall(since we didn't have one in our town), to look at some trinkets at the Wild West Souvenir Shop and to visit Buffalo Bill's Guest Ranch, where he lived for a number of years.

During the war, 6 million servicemen passed through North Platte on the train on the way to war. During this time, every train was met by locals who had prepared donuts, cakes, sandwiches, coffee and friendship in the ten minutes they had to what was known as the North Platte Canteen. It became notorious as a place not to be missed for the frightened teenagers that knew they were going to a war they might never come back from.

Hats off to North Platte as they supported our servicemen, and to all those who have served, then and now.

1 comment:

Agent Pipes said...

Cool story, James. There are always neat stories in small towns. I'm starting to remember stories from Bertha, MN (my small home town) because Altus is so small. There aer some frustrating things about small towns... but some awesome things, too.