Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Military Convoy Retraces Historic Route through Cedar Rapids

On Sunday, June 21, a convoy retracing the 1919 transit of military vehicles on the Lincoln Highway pulled into Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the night. Some 60 registered military jeeps, trucks, staff cars, and assorted other vehicles, and their support units, filed into the Clarion Hotel parking lot in 42N country. The convoy left Washington D.C. on June 13 and will finish the transit in San Francisco on July 8th while riding on much of the original Lincoln Highway as possible. In addition to the registered convoy vehicles a number of other military surface tracks and cars join the procession along the way for a short period to show off their historical vehicle.

The convoy is part of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA.) As part of its mission to honor our country's military vehicle history, the MVPA decided to recreate the famous 1919 Convoy in 2009 as a 90th Anniversary celebration of the achievement and in conjunction with the nation's President Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. The original convoy in 1919, was part of the US Army's Military Transportation Corps idea to demonstrate the need for a mechanized Army. The plan to modernize America's fighting force involved the idea of a convoy parading the Army's military might from coast-to-coast along the then new Lincoln Highway.

In 1919 the Convoy stopped in Cedar Rapids and was treated to a huge meal in the city's Greene Square Park. Among the original participants of the convoy was Lt. Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a result of the 1919 Convoy he reportedly saw the value of a mechanized land army and the need for better roadway infrastructure to move vehicles across the nation. As President Eisenhower in the 1950s he approved federal legislation to build the country's interstate system - called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (Eisenhower Interstate System for short.) Know that.

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