Happiness Challenge Day 5: Early Morning Walk Discoveries, Baton Rouge

I'm on the road for the next few days -- writing from Baton Rouge. So the posts over the next few days will be short and simple.

This morning, as I do whenever I'm in a new city and the weather permits, I took a walk. (This was a double purpose kind of walk, after last night's eats: oysters, boudin balls, frog legs, crawfish pasta ... have I mentioned I am in Louisiana?)  

I was taken by this boxcar on the grounds of the Old State Capitol. Gratitude Train? Tell me more. 

Downtown Baton Rouge

I didn't know the story, so I looked it up on The Merci Train site:

This is the Merci Train. In 1949, France sent one of these railroad cars to each state, filled with gifts of gratitude from French citizens after World War II. In early 1949 there were at least thousands of World War 1 veterans and millions of WW2 veterans still living who had memories of spending as much as a week being transported to, or from, the battlefronts of the wars in that exact same type of boxcar. There were no seats, no windows, no toilets, and no sleeping or dining accommodations. Each man and his 39 traveling companions had barely enough space to sit down and they had to fit their bodies in rows to have enough room to lie down for sleep. Most of the veterans that survived the war had memories (and some still have) of those final rides and conversations with buddies, including some who were killed and never made it back to the U.S.A. Those surviving veterans decided to make the little gift boxcars memorials to the those lost buddies and the sacrifices that they made to save the world from the tyranny of Nazism. Thus it is that, for more than 60 years, they have volunteered to keep the little antique boxcars repaired and honorably displayed in an effort to memorialize all that those who had given their all for the freedom of people everywhere in the world. I think that all of those heroes should continue to be honored by the continued preservation of these humble symbols of their sacrifices.

OK, that's a perspective check. I'm thankful for those sacrifices. 

And for the gratitude train. 

What makes you happy? Post about it and join the #31DaysofHappinessBrigade:


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