My name is Bob Graham and my home is in Alliance, Ohio. This letter to the people of your city is long over due and I have had it on my mind to write for many years. I am nearly 90 years old so it is important for me to send this to you now.
In 1944 I was on a troop train to California with a final destination in the South Pacific. One of our stops was in Alliance, Nebraska. There was a canteen there, which was open, and the troops were allowed to disembark the train. As I remember the day, there were many good refreshments provided for our enjoyment and the people came out to offer their friendly support of us. We probably weren’t there very long, but the experience has been with me for over 70 years. It is one of my best. The ladies, both old and young treated us like kings.
The train station in Alliance, Ohio, also had a canteen. I talked with many servicemen who stopped in my Alliance and yours. Everyone thought that the kindness shown made life a little more like home. I imagine that most of these “greeters” are gone but thank God that they were there for us at that time.
I left San Francisco in late June 1944 and it took until August for me to reach my assignment on a floating dry dock. The ship served on many islands during my deployment. Six months after the war ended, I was on my way home. My girl was waiting for me and in less than a month, we were married. Our marriage lasted for 58 years until she was called back home to heaven. Over those years we had two boys and a girl. We had a good life.
I just wanted you and the people of Alliance, Nebraska, to know just how much the kindness of your citizens has meant to me over the years.