Following World War II, in February of 1949, the people of France sent 49 rail cars to the United States. They gave one rail car to each state and one to be shared by Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. These cars served as a gift of thanks to the American people, and included French goods and handmade items. These rail cars were called the Gratitude Train, or the Merci Train.
North Carolina’s Merci car resides at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Rowan County. The Museum is partnering with local businesses and organizations to celebrate the themes of World War II, French Culture, and most of all gratitude. This celebration is called 49 Days of Gratitude: A Celebration of Thanks. The event includes a series of community events beginning February 9 and ending March 30, and kicks off with the Gratitude Parade through Downtown Spencer. Some of the additional community events include: Wine & Dine on the Rails, Art Exhibitions, Art Crawl, Movie Cinebar, Night at the Museum, African American Involvement in World War II, Gratitude Journaling, Merci Weekend and so much more! You can also enjoy the North Carolina Merci Train and actual gifts given by the French people at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. The exhibit opens on February 9, 2019.
For a full list of events, visit the 49 Days of Gratitude website.