This Veteran's Day, I'd like to point out some folks from the Home Front that made a difference. The country is full of people who thank veterans; this is the story of two groups who went above and beyond the call of duty.
The North Platte Canteen
Troop trains would stop in North Platte, Nebraska. The engineers would lubricate the wheels and top off the water in ten minute stops. The women of North Platte would bring food - at first cookies and later in the war full meals and even birthday cakes - to the trains.
Every single train for the entire war.
Six million troops stopped in North Platte, and every single one was fed. The government donated exactly $5 of this, and it was a check sent by Franklin Roosevelt when he heard about the effort. The people who organized this raised almost $140,000 (in 1940s dollars). The food was gathered during a period of rationing. The soldiers and sailors who went through North Platte never forgot that day.
The Bangor Troop Greeters
Bangor, Maine has the easternmost international airport in the United States. Originally built as Dow Air Force Base, the runway once hosted B-52 bombers. This makes it a great refueling stop for troop flights returning from overseas.
A group of people in Bangor heard that soldiers returning from Desert Storm were going to be stopping. They showed up with coffee, cookies, and cell phones for the troops to call their loved ones. A million and a half troops have stopped in Bangor, and they're met at all times of the day or night. The US Government hasn't had to pay a dime - this is an all volunteer effort.
These people make me proud to be their countryman.