Date(s) - 09/24/2023
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
What is the Merci Train?
The Merci Train was a train of 49 French railroad box cars filled with tens of thousands of gifts of gratitude from at least that many individual French citizens showing their appreciation for the more than 700 American box cars of relief goods sent to them by (primarily) individual Americans in 1948. Visit the exhibit to see New Hampshire’s Box Car!
Why does the Merci Train matter to Franco-Americans?
* More than 100,000 Franco-Americans served in the Armed Forces of the US during WWII.
*During WWII, Franco-Americans donated over $12 million for war bonds allowing them to name a number Liberty Ships in honor of famous Franco-Americans such as Ferdinand Gagnon, Aram Pothier, Bishop Albert Guertin, etc.
*Because of the propensity of Franco-Americans to have large families, FA newspapers published lists of families which had three or more children serving in WWII. The record in New England seems to have been the 10 Frédette brothers from East Braintree, MA; nationwide, the record was held by the 16 Gauthier brothers of Fort Worth, TX.
Thank you to historian and FAC friend, Ron Héroux for sharing these points from Armand Chartier’s book “The Franco-Americans of New England – A History”.
2023 Annual NH Celebration of the Merci Train
Join our friends from the 40 & 8 Society for the annual celebration of the Merci Train – Le Train de la Reconnaissance Française, with special guest: M. Mustafa Soykurt, Consul General of France in Boston.
The event, free and open to all, takes place Sunday, September 24th from 1 to 2 pm. at the Boxcar permanent location at Reed Street just off Bremer Street in Manchester, NH.
Following the ceremony, there will be a reception nearby at the American Legion Jutras Post #43 (56 Boutwell St., Manchester). The reception is free, however registration is required by Mon 9/18 at 5:00 p.m. to plan for food.
Register below or contact the 40 & 8 Society via Facebook.
For more information about the Merci Box Car history, check out their website.
Bookings are closed for this event.