Essentials: Letter from Fredericksburg
See related: Letter From Fredericksburg
The National Museum of the Pacific War, at 305 E. Austin in Fredericksburg, is behind the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site, on Main St. (US 290), between Washington and Lincoln streets. Fredericksburg is about 70 miles northwest of San Antonio and 75 miles west of Austin. Sales from a gift shop and bookstore help support the museum. Hours: Daily 10-5; closed Dec. 25. Admission: $5, $3 students with ID, free age 7 and younger. Special rates available for school and tour groups of 20 persons or more. Call 830/997-4379; Web site: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/nimitz.
In addition to the National Museum, the historic site includes the Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Museum, which covers the personal life and phenomenal Naval career of the admiral. It is closed for renovation until fall 2004. The second floor will be converted into classroom space and other educational areas; the ballroom will be completely restored to a late-1800s appearance.
Veterans Walk of Honor and Memorial Walls
Families, friends, and reunion associations sponsor hundreds of commemorative plaques and brick pavers that honor persons, units, and ships of the U.S. Armed Forces, or of U.S. Allies, that served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
The plaques and pavers line old-limestone walls near the Main Street entrance to the National Museum. All donations for the plaques and pavers are used for the museum's support and development. Important funding is also provided by direct contributions to the Admiral Nimitz Foundation, which is based next door to the museum, at 328 E. Main.
The museum hosts special events throughout the year, including ceremonies and programs in the Plaza of the Presidents on Veterans Day (Nov. 11, 2003, 11 a.m.), Pearl Harbor Day (Dec. 7, 2003, 12:25 p.m.), and Memorial Day (May 31, 2004, 10 a.m.). Open to the public. Admission: Free. Ceremonies feature guest speakers, a 21-gun salute, and joint color guard.
History buffs and scholars find strong appeal in an annual symposium, held in September., on a crucial topic of the war in the Pacific. A symposium on the Battle of Leyte, the last major naval battle in history, is scheduled for September. 18-19, 2004. Re-enactments of a typical 1944 assault on a Pacific island and its defense are scheduled at the museum's Combat Zone on Nov. 28-29, 2003; Mar. 20-21, 2004; May 29-30, 2004; July 3-4, 2004; Sept. 4-5, 2004; and Nov. 26-27, 2004.
Historian Ralph A. Wooster recommends Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan by Ronald A. Spector for a comprehensive account of the Pacific War. Dr. Wooster is working on his sixth book of Texas history, which deals with Texans in World War II.
From the November 2003 issue.