Thursday, September 24, 2009

Displayed 'Yellow Ribbon' Locomotive for Returning 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team Troops

Received the following via email dated 9/14/09 from Nate Clark in Greenville, PA. Sorry, no pictures were included.

Commemorating the service and sacrifice of the brave soldiers of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team returning to Pennsylvania after their deployment in Iraq, black-with-yellow-trim locomotive #430 of the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad presently rests on the Western Reserve Farm Cooperative sidetrack at Cambridge Springs (about 20 miles south of Erie). Wearing donated Yellow Ribbons and four-dozen hand-made, satin Yellow Bows, the locomotive is situated by the farm cooperative's mill site, west of the Grant Street grade crossing.

Upon disembarking from the buses at the Pennsylvania National Guard's Cambridge Springs Readiness Center, the returning soldiers will undoubtedly be anxious to just 'get home' and be with their loved ones. This tribute locomotive is positioned, however, such that if any soldiers might wish to also take a five-minute side-trip to view it, they and their families will be treated to a truly unique and special visual 'salute' to them. The weather for their homecoming should be spectacular. On Monday evening, well after the excitement of the return of the final buses of homeward-bound Stryker Brigade veterans has subsided, the decorations will be removed and temporarily stored, and the 3,000-horsepower freight locomotive will also be released, for a few days, back to Operations for use across the WNYP rail system.

The plan for next week, though, is to bring the locomotive, ribbons and bows back for an encore appearance at the same spot at Grant and Railroad streets for the community's big 'Welcome Home' parade celebration to honor these 500+ heroes and their families on Friday, 9-25. The locomotive will be parked within easy sight of where the planned parade route crosses the railroad. After the grand pageantry of the parade to let the soldiers know how proud we are of them, and how much they all were missed and always appreciated, the dozens of custom Yellow Bows (crafted by Mrs. Leanna Mayberry of Greenville, Mercer County) will again be removed, one last time, and donated to the classrooms of the many local elementary school students who have been loyal Pen Pals with our region's Stryker Brigade troops while serving overseas.