We did a special Taps yesterday. We had passed North Platte Nebraska many times and had never noticed their immensely moving 20th Century Veterans Memorial.
During World War II North Platte was a railway stop where soldiers being shipped out had a brief stop.
So, dozens of volunteers, mostly women made them a temporary home away from home. Men spent a memorable 15 minutes in North Platte and were given food cigarettes and drink during their stay. Because of rationing during that time many of the volunteers made great sacrifices so the soldiers would have something
From Christmas of 1941 through April 1, 1946, volunteers greeted and fed about 6 million service members.
The sculptures signed by different artists are spectacular: all services are represented and all 20th Century wars as well as a beautiful tribute to the women who maintained the canteen.
The town and the canteen were the subject of a book by Bob Greene, famed Chicago columnist, called Once Upon a Town.
There's Railway car and a lake adjacent to the memorial. That's where I chose to play taps.
Bricks line both sides of the memorial walkway and inscribed with the names of veterans honored by friends and relatives.
Some of the men, headed for battle in the Pacific, knew the chances of being killed or injured were nearly one in three. They volunteered to protect our freedoms anyway.
This place must've been a very special distraction and a beautiful show of appreciation for their sacrifice.