Something for the weekend. Here Comes the Freedom Train (1976). This seems like an appropriate song between the birthdays of our two greatest presidents: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Written by Stephen Lemberg in 1976, the above rendition by Merle Haggard was played endlessly on the radio in the Bicentennial year, the 45 single of the song sold as a fundraiser for the second Freedom Train.
In 1947 President Harry S. Truman commissioned a special train, staffed with United States Marines, to tour the country and display precious documents of American history to remind all Americans of their heritage. The train’s cargo included: the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, one of the 13 original copies of the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, one of Lincoln’s handwritten drafts of the Gettysburg Address, the large flag raised on Mount Suribachi by the US Marines on Iwo Jima, the German and Japanese surrender documents that ended World War II, and much more, including one of the originals of the Magna Carta.
The train toured the US for two years and was surrounded by throngs of visitors wherever it stopped. It traveled 37,160 miles, stopping in 326 cities and towns. Over three million Americans went on board the train, many waiting up to six hours to do so. A second Freedom Train toured the country during the Bicentennial in 1975-1976.