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Pause-Déjeuner: The Merci Train

September 21 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

History buffs and others will be amazed to hear this little-known story of France’s 1949 Merci Train!

After the ravages of World War II, France was destitute. Sympathetic Americans, moved by the plight of their recent allies, wanted to provide relief. They collected food and supplies and shipped them to France in 700 railroad boxcars.

In gratitude, the people of France collected gifts on their side and shipped them back in 49 train boxcars, one for each US state plus Hawaii & D.C. This “Merci Train” arrived in New York harbor in February 1949. Among the many beautiful and poignant mementos were 48 handmade silk wedding gowns.

Brigitte Helzer (née Kibler) as a child in 1949

Today the mutual exchange has been all but forgotten. Did you know, for example, that the French boxcar sent to Vermont is on display today, right here in Colchester, Vermont?

On September 21 at 12 noon, zoom in to hear this fascinating feel-good tale from Richard Lorenz, president of the Vermont Military Museum, and our own Brigitte Helzer, French immigrant, Merci Train eyewitness, and AFLCR member.

Via Zoom.

To register click here.