Memorial Day 2024

This weekend, we respectfully take time to honor those who have given their lives for our nation and the greater mission of freedom. The value of freedom is often obscured in a world full of disconnects, let alone the full understanding of the human sacrifice that has frequently been necessary in our history to preserve it.

Railroads had a full understanding of that since they faced a less fatal but equally challenging war on the home front. They too had the herculean task of mustering the support of the troops—thousands of men and women once needed to keep our giant transportation machine fluid and productive. Historically, our railroads were the backbone of supporting the armed forces during global conflict.

World War II taxed our resources greatly, but in a very real sense, that conflict solidified the “can-do” spirit of the United States and demonstrated our solidarity as a nation. Two railroads that actively promoted those values during the war years were the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and New Haven. Although they connected, both differed greatly in size and scope, but PRR and NH delivered signature promotions that underscored the importance of the sacrifice of service and the role of the railroads to those at home.

As with all subjects, the PRR dominated that effort by employing the most capable copywriters, photographers, and artists to make the general public aware of that heroic mission. Some of the PRR Executive Department assisted as well since they fully believed in what they endorsed. The PRR ad titled “Helping The Navy Launch Victory” captures the mission and the times effectively. The image featured from that release shows the giant class S-1 locomotive at the launch of a Navy battleship.

The New Haven utilized its “Along The Line” series, and three of those promotions are also featured. Of the three, the one titled “The Kid In Upper 4” was the most acclaimed and eventually became a permanent iconic image of that era. Of all the railroads, the NH most effectively captured the service of young men, drafted and enlisted, that set aside their personal goals and safety for the welfare of all.

The great strength of the United States has endured through the efforts of those in the armed services. After each war, railroads frequently employed honorably discharged military veterans since they realized that front-line battle experience was likewise needed in the ranks of operating personnel. Any seasoned railroader is well aware that brute force and unflinching determination are needed daily to keep the trains moving.

Take time this week to honor those who have given their life for our freedom and safety. We wish all a peaceful and respectful Memorial Day weekend. If you do take time off to enjoy your hobby, we hope you consider our site in your general search. Our staff is determined to serve you in every way possible so you can take pleasure in one of the most outstanding hobbies in the universe.

Frank Wrabel