Reflection from Glen Crago
The following is a reflection from Glen Crago regarding his CPS experience:
In early April, the U.S. Forest Service began recruiting men to move to the West Coast. The annual fire season was about to begin, and they were short of manpower to fight fires….So eight of us single men volunteered…
The train trip to the West Coast was a memorable one. The forest service arranged for the eight men to travel by Pullman (sharing four lower bunks) out of Chicago to Belden, California—a three day trip.
On the same train were hundreds of sailors returning to their ships in San Francisco. The war in the Pacific was hearing up and entering some of the most extensive military actions.
Within two hours, it was clear that in a Pullman car with ninety sailors and eight civilian males, some explanation needed to be made. So we told the sailors around us who we were, where we were going, and why. Their reaction was “fine, we understand, and there’s no problem.”
Within the next two hours, however, the situation changed drastically. Someone had brought along some liquor, and most of the sailors were slightly tipsy, and some were very drunk. In that state, some of them began to harass us and in fact, became verbally very abusive.
For several hours, we were very uncomfortable. We did not respond to these taunts and jeers. We realized that when they sobered up, they would likely feel embarrassed about the whole matter.
The shore patrol came along and gently, but firmly, removed the loudest of the sailors. Where they spent the night, I don’t know, but the next morning, they returned and apologized for their behavior. From then, until our arrival, the attitudes toward us was (sic) warm and appreciative. We spent long hours discussing war and our understanding of it. We heard their explanation of what they were doing and why.
This exchange was one of the most meaningful of my CPS experience.
--Taken from Stories of Peace and Service, by Stanley G. Hill, Jr., 1990, pp. 26,27. Used with permission.