Friday, April 5, 2013

Merci Train Rededication

On Tuesday, March 26, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History rededicated the restored "Merci Train" that was one of the ones presented after WW2 by the French people to thank the United States for its actions in both freeing France from German domination and for providing assistance in rebuilding France after the war.  As I published in earlier posts (see below), the old "40 & 8" boxcar was in terrible shape and was almost lost.  But after a lengthy restoration and rebuilding, it looks like new!

I attended the rededication and took the following pictures.

Hank Holmes, the Director of the Department of Archives and History, opens the ceremony with a few words about the history of the boxcar and its restoration.  Standing on the right is Robert Parker Adams, the architect who supervised the restoration.

Some of the spectators at the rededication, including William Winter (on right in suit), former governor and former president of the archives board of directors; Elbert Hilliard (in tan coat), director emeritus of the department; and two of the distinguished WW2 veterans present.

Bob Adams, the architect, described the restoration process which included moving the car to its present location at the historic Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio (GM&O) Railroad depot and completely stripping it down to the bare structural members.

Our distinguished guests (from left) - Mr. William W. Correll (WW2 veteran), Mme Keltoum Rowland (honorary French consul to Mississippi), and Mr. R. B. Andrews (WW2 veteran).  Both Correll and Andrews actually rode in the 40 & 8 cars during their service in France during WW2.

The interpretive plaque that has been mounted in front of the boxcar.  I have to get a better picture of this and at a better angle so I can make it more readable.

The 40 & 8 car in all of its new glory.  It is protected by a shed that is designed to resemble the shed across the tracks at the GM&O depot.  And it is a good thing the shed was put over it as Jackson had a severe hail storm on Monday, March 17.  Without the shed, the roof of the car would have taken a severe pounding.  Whew!!
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1 comment:

David Morfitt said...

Interesting - thanks for that. Good to see that these WW2 memorials are still valued, especially the more unusual and evocative ones like this.