Fredericksburg was the boyhood home to Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz who led the American Naval forces in the Pacific during World War II. He was strongly influenced by his grandfather who gave him his hard work ethic, his fairness and compassion and the ability to make the choices needed to lead the Pacific naval efforts.
He studied hard and passed an early test so that he could take the entrance exam to the Naval Academy. He qualified and entered the Naval Acadamy when he was still a teenager.
The Admiral Nimitz Museum is in the hotel owned by Nimitz’s Grandfather.
There is a statue of Nimitz in a small courtyard. Susan thought it was life sized at first glance but I barely came up to his shoulders. I don’t think he was that tall.
The National Museum of the Pacific War is in another large building right next door and in another site where there are aircraft and a PT boat on display as well as a living history reenactment theater.
The museum is organized in a timeline fashion as well as the island by island struggle.
I like this kind of museum where a story unfolds as you move through the displays. There were many levels of detail to see, hear and watch. There were displays, videos projected on the walls, computer screen desks like the one above, audio listening devices that you could select several stories to listen and more. The level of detail was very good. An entrance ticket was good for two days. We came back a second day because there was so much more to see.
In another facility a few blocks away there was a living history center where combat is simulated for an audience watching from the grandstands. It is hard to imagine the horror of these combat situations from the bleacher seats.
Another building held an aircraft carrier airplane and a recreation of the aircraft control center on the carrier. It was all about carrier operations.
The other building had a real PT boat that had been restored.
There were several versions of PT boats. They had a short life expectancy driving very close to enemy ships while under fire to let loose their torpedos. Many remember the PT109 story of John F Kennedy. It was probably a bit over dramatized in the movie but the reality was very difficult.
Not at all like McHale’s Navy.
In the courtyard next to the Museum was an area honoring men, ships, squadrons, crews and many other individuals and groups from the Pacific War.
And to bring it all back to today there is a Japanese Peace Garden.
It is a beautiful and peaceful place with a small stream along one side, very carefully maintained plantings, a large center section of white gravel raked to perhaps represent the waves on the ocean and small garden areas in the sea of white gravel representing all of the islands in the Pacific.
We are always surprised and delighted to find all of the things that seem to make each place we visit special. And this happens because we are taking more and more time to be in each place as we are there. It takes some time to begin to discover all that a town like Fredericksburg has to offer. As we have discovered over many years with an RV you don’t have time to see very much just driving by.
Roger and Susan