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Public Information and Communication

January 21, 2014 

Tessa Terry

Governor Heineman Proclaims 2014 One Book One Nebraska: Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen

On Jan. 16, 2014 Governor Dave Heineman signed a proclamation honoring 2014 One Book One Nebraska: Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene. In this year people across Nebraska are encouraged to read this story of how North Platte, Nebraska, a plains community of only 12,000 people, came together during World War II to provide welcoming words, friendship, and baskets of food and treats to more than six million GIs by the time the war ended. Award-winning journalist Bob Greene is a CNN contributor and a New York Times bestselling author who originally set out to write Once Upon a Town because, as he says on the book's first page, he was looking for "…the best America there ever was." He found it in North Platte, on the site of the old Canteen down by the railroad tracks. In this nonfiction story, Greene discovers the echoes of a love story between a country and its young people. During World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte on troop trains en route to their ultimate destinations in Europe and the Pacific. This small town, wanting to offer warmth and support to the servicemen and women, transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen. Every day of the year, every day of the war, the Canteen-staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers-was open from 5:00 a.m. until the last troop train of the day pulled away after midnight. Once Upon a Town tells the story of how this plains community and the surrounding towns stepped up to boost the morale of more than six million GIs by the time the war ended.  

One participant in the signing ceremony was Rosalie Lippincott, of Shelton, NE, who worked at the North Platte Canteen during her teen years, serving meals to WWII soldiers passing through on troop trains. She made a presentation in Aurora, Nebraska, on the evening of the ceremony, her 41st such presentation. To view a video of a presentation she made on November 13, 2011 to the Hall County Nebraska Historical Society, see  

Photos of the proclamation-signing ceremony are available at:  

The One Book One Nebraska reading program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book, Nebraska Library Association, Nebraska Library Commission, and Humanities Nebraska is entering its tenth year. It encourages Nebraskans across the state to read and discuss one book, chosen from books written by Nebraska authors or that have a Nebraska theme or setting. Libraries across Nebraska will join other literary and cultural organizations in planning book discussions, activities, and events to encourage Nebraskans to read and discuss this book. Support materials to assist with local reading/discussion activities are available at Updates and activity listings will be posted there and on  

The Nebraska Center for the Book is housed at the Nebraska Library Commission and brings together the state’s readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, printers, educators, and scholars to build the community of the book, supporting programs to celebrate and stimulate public interest in books, reading, and the written word. The Nebraska Center for the Book is supported by the Nebraska Library Commission.

As Nebraska’s state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans.  The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services-“bringing together people and information.”

The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website,