Out of Omaha, due west heading for Cheyenne, the Union Pacific line runs through North Platte, Nebraska. In 1941, trains stopped in North Platte to take on water and lubricate the wheels. It was a quick stop - perhaps 20 minutes. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, the Union Pacific carried troops through North Platte on their way to war. And, from December, 1941 until April 1946, every train was met. Six million service men (and women) were greeted with hot coffee, freshly baked cookies, sandwiches and cakes. The story of the women (and some men) of the North Platte Canteen is beautifully told by others. At the linked site you can watch a short video and hear from veterans who remember, with tears, their visit to the Canteen over 60 years ago. Read Bob Greene's book "Once Upon A Town, the Miracle of the North Platte Canteen". You can get it for your e-reader, or listen to it on your next road trip. But don't think that such human kindness occurred only on the great plains of the mid-west. Today, in Bangor, Maine, planes carrying troops to and from war in the Middle East are met by volunteers. The Maine Troop Greeters have greeted over 5900 flights with more than 1,200,000 service members and 296+ military dogs. A documentary film, "The Way We Get By" tells this story.
My husband and I live near a military base. We buy a meal for soldiers when we can.