Saturday, March 22, 2014

Society Saturday - The Merci Train

The Illinois Branch of the National Society Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims met recently for lunch.  NSSDP is an organization for men and women who can trace their ancestry to a "Pilgrim".  Pilgrim is defined as someone who immigrated to this country before 1700 - anywhere now within the 48 continental states.

Along with regular business, we welcomed two new members to our Branch (aka chapter).
Branch Governor Jane Schleinzer welcomes new members Sunny Hayes and Elly Rabin
After lunch we had an informative program about the Merci Train by Lorna Wright.  After World War II, citizens across the U.S. sent care packages to France - these items filled 700 boxcars ($40 million worth)
of the Friendship Train.  As a thank you ("Merci") the French sent back 49 boxcars filled with sentimental items.  One boxcar went to each state (48 at that time in 1949) and one to the District of Columbia.  Several of the boxcars are still in existence along with some of the items.  It was interesting to learn about this topic that was new to many of us.

Photo from Library of Congress ( LOT 5899)

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