The war ended in August 1945. Just like in the rest of the country, celebration overtook the canteen. However, soldiers were continuing to come through North Platte and the canteen volunteers were right there to meet them. As the soldiers came home they were able to find the same hospitality as before. Finally, with few troop trains arriving, on April 1, 1946, it was determined that the canteen should close its doors. A ceremony was held and Rae Wilson returned from California to participate. The canteen was closed.
The next day, volunteers were in the depot cleaning for the last time and a train pulled in. It was full of troops. Unable to give them anything but the coffee they had put on for themselves, they handed out the cups and filled them up. A fitting ending to an extraordinary story. So extraordinary, in fact, that from 1941-1946, the canteen served 6 million troops. None of which, were ever charged and no train was ever missed.
Posted on Sun, July 29, 2012
by Lincoln County Historical Museum