Friday, May 25, 2012

Mississippi's "Merci Train" -- Part 2

Last week I attended a presentation that discussed the work that had been and will be done on our 40 & 8 boxcar.  Since my last posting, the roof panels have been installed to help protect the boxcar from the elements.  Interpretive signage still has to be installed.

Workmen install the roof panels and put a waterproof sealant on the finished product.

Our Museum Division curators have also installed a small exhibit in the lobby of our main building about the Merci Train.  Here are pictures of the exhibit, some suitably cropped so you can see all the panels.  Please click on each picture to see a larger image.

The overall exhibit

The left portion of the vertical panel.  Notice the doll the little girl on the right is holding.  It is similar to one in the exhibit case (picture below).

Close-up of above picture so the descriptive sign is readable.

Center portion of the vertical panel
Close-up of above picture so the descriptive sign is readable.

Right portion of the vertical panel
Close-up of top part of above picture so the descriptive sign is readable.
Close-up of bottom part of above picture so the descriptive sign is readable.

A selection of gifts from the French people

There were a number of items that were included with each of the 49 boxcars.  Mississippi's items are pictured above, with some close-up pictures below.

A booklet on the French Army's efforts in WW2 and a painted drumhead

A charcoal drawing of the front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris

A little girl's doll, similar to the one in the picture above of the left portion of the vertical panel

A very nicely done piece of embroidery

Once the interpretive signage is installed, I'll post more pictures.  I hope that you are enjoying this "history lesson" and will try to see the "Merci Train" in your state, if it still exists as some have been allowed to be destroyed.  You can use this web site to see if your state's boxcar is still extant.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mississippi Trail of Honor

Every Armed Forces Day weekend (3rd weekend in May), the local Harley Davidson Motorcycle dealer has been hosting a tribute to America's military with its "Trail of Honor."  And every year I say, "Self, we need to go to this!"  Well, finally my son and I stopped by on our way home from one of our wargaming group's games.  Since the locale of the trail is at the Interstate exit I normally take to go to my house, it is a wonder that it has taken me so long to stop by the trail.

The trail started in the Harley Davidson showroom with a large number of booths and in-door exhibits featuring participants as diverse as Indian code-talkers, Buffalo soldiers, Tuskegee airmen, veterans organizations from every service, and even a small display from my workplace (Miss. Dept. of Archives and History).  Once we finished walking around and looking at everything, we went outside and followed the trail through the warm, but shady piney woods behind the shop.  Starting with the French and Indian War and finishing up with the current war of terror, the living history displays chronicled every conflict in which America has been involved.  Of course being in Mississippi, the largest number of demonstrations were of the American Civil War with re-enactors portraying all aspects of Civil War military life from artillery positions through a field medical site to the cavalry picket line.  The Traveling Vietnam Wall was also there and served to remind everyone who came through of the price we have paid for our liberty.

My camera batteries were very low so I only took three  pictures, even though I probably could have taken 300!

One of our own wargamers, John H. from Vicksburg, dressed as an American Revolutionary War soldier.

A "slick boat" from the Navy's Special Boat Team 22, which is based at the Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi.  This boat was one of the ones actually used in the movie Act of Valor which I saw.

A trailer mounted model of the Navy's newest nuclear attack boat - the USS Mississippi.  She will be commissioned on June 2, 2012 on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Pascagoula.  She is the fifth ship named Mississippi and the first submarine to carry our state's name.

I hope that you enjoyed this very brief tour of Mississippi's Trail of Honor and, if you live close enough, will consider stopping by next year for a visit.