Heritage Center Displays Gratitude Train Boxcar - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Heritage Center Displays Gratitude Train Boxcar

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Different cultures have their own traditions and ways of showing gratitude. And there is one object in Bismarck that acknowledges the sacrifices of U.S. World War II soldiers.

In 1947, an American Friendship Train carried $40 million worth of relief supplies to France and Italy, countries torn by war. A few years later, the French reciprocated.

Their gift came in the form of The Gratitude Train. It arrived in New York Harbor aboard the Magellan merchant ship in 1949. It contained 49 boxcars, one for each state, and they were filled with treasures for the people of the United States.

This is our train car that came to North Dakota, loaded with gifts, as a thank-you for America's efforts during the war.

The French originally used the four-wheeled wagons as military transport cars and they had a pretty unique name.

Forty and eight is also what they would call this train car because it would hold either 40 men or eight horses.

North Dakota's boxcar is currently one of 43 remaining. The train, along with many of the gifts found on board, is on display at the Heritage Center.

There was art, books, dolls, there was a little sewing kit, there were crochet flowers and there was a bottle of brandy!

Heritage Center employees say no matter where visitors are from, each and every one of them now has a tie to North Dakota.

When they're from Texas, or Washington, or Utah or wherever they're from, they can make a connection with the car because their state was once gifted with a car as well.

The Gratitude Train is a piece of small piece of history, but it's a piece that gives the state of North Dakota something in common with the rest of the country.

For more information on the boxcar you can visit the state's Historical Society's website http://history.nd.gov/.


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