Posted by: Jim E | July 31, 2010

North Platte Canteen…and Imjustwalkin…

In the past few months many people across America and I guess the world, have been following our peripatetic engineer (an engineer by trade…walker by choice) in his quest for…well, I don’t really know…but is walking across America…Rockaway Beach, New York to Rockaway Beach, Oregon…

Matt Green is his name and he is now somewhere in Montana, near the Idaho border…from Bears and Big Sky to Potatoes and Huckleberries…or something like that…he has recorded his trek online ( http://www.imjustwalkin ) with pictures and comments…along with comments by all his fans in the Hobo Nation (or now, world)…along the way he has met some incredible people…they have fed him, kept him hydrated, given him room and board…and been all-around wonderful to this hobo from the east…

America is like that…I would like to put in a word for America…Matt is part of that…so are the Hobo Nation…and so are the many who have gone out of their way to help Matt on his journey…it made this old man remember a program on PBS a few years ago about North Platte, Nebraska…it showed what we always see in America…the basic goodness of people when there is a need…and an opportunity to do something about it…Matt has felt that on this trip…

During WWII this town in the heart of the country did something that was unbelievable…North Platte was and still is the train capital of middle America…when the troop trains came through sometimes two or more a day…the women of the area…(some 125 towns around North Platte)…they gathered at the depot and served all those troops…coffee, sandwiches, cake, pie, cookies, pheasant sandwiches (in season, sometimes out of season), magazines, etc…it was called “The North Platte Canteen”…and had to do it in 10 minutes, before the train got on its way…

And they met those trains at all hours everyday from 1943 until 1945…some 6.5 million troops were fed…the PBS special was called “The Canteen Spirit”…that spirit is still alive in America…ask Matt Green and so many others…if we just open our eyes to what this country has been and is today…hopefully we won’t ever lose that love for everything good in this country…

Watch the video and look at the pictures of another time…a time of great worry and stress…great fear for those sent in harms way…but a time of great love for this country…and great sacrifice when things were scarce…this was still the depression…things still rationed…but people still found the ability to give out of open hearts…

Some of that is around today…war and rough times for many…but Matt is experiencing, maybe not the North Platte Canteen, but what is best in America…it is still here…I honor that today…

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