Within days of the declaration of war, troops began to move across the country, on their way to the front lines. In many communities, there was a strong public need to be a part of the war effort. Many towns organized canteens at their railroad depots to serve troop trains that were passing through the state. The North Platte Canteen was the most famous canteen in the United States.
Helping those on their way to the front lines was a way those left behind could be part of the war on the home front.
The North Platte Canteen began because of a mix-up. Ten days after Pearl Harbor, North Platte residents learned that their own Company D of the Nebraska National Guard would be passing through on its way to the west coast. The townspeople gathered cookies, cakes, gum, and cigarettes and waited for their boys to arrive. Company D finally did roll into the Union Pacific station, but it was a Company D from Kansas! Rae Wilson, whose brother was the commander of the Nebraska Company D, thought it would be a good idea to meet all the troop trains, and on Christmas day 1941, the North Platte Canteen officially opened for business.
Some World War II Medal of Honor recipients are in the Nebraska Hall of Fame.
Learn more about all its members.