Texas weather was not very nice to us. We seemed to be dodging rain on a regular basis. On this particular overcast day we decided to visit the Admiral Nimitz Museum in downtown Fredericksburg, TX. The museum had been highly recommended by many people.
On our first visit downtown we located the museum and thought it rather small but being so recommended off we went. Little did we know that the Admiral Nimitz Museum is part of the larger National Museum of the Pacific War. We were about to experience a great tribute to the men and women who served our country in WWII.
The Admiral Nimitz Museum is the original building of the current museum complex. It is considered the flagship of the complex and is housed in the original Nimitz Steamboat Hotel. This hotel was owned and operated by Admiral Nimitz’s grandparents and has been a landmark in Fredericksburg since the late 1800s. The old hotel is dedicated to the Admiral’s life and career.
The complex now consists of six acres with three museums, a Japanese Garden of Peace, a Memorial Courtyard, and the Plaza of Presidents. Leaving the Admiral Nimitz Museum we moved on to the memorial garden area heading to the Japanese Garden of Peace. Unfortunately, this garden was undergoing some renovation and was not open.
The Memorial Courtyard is dedicated to all who served in the Pacific. There are numerous plaques and bricks honoring specific soldiers. The walk was peaceful with lots of greenery and a central fountain. Again unfortunately the fountain was undergoing maintenance when we visited.
The Plaza of Presidents honored each President who served in WWII or who was Commander in Chief during that time. Commander in Chief – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and President Harry S. Truman and eight Presidents served in WWII – Eisenhower (Army), Kennedy (Navy), Johnson (Navy), Nixon (Navy), Ford (Navy), Carter (Navy), Reagan (Army), and H. W. Bush (Navy). It was a moving moment when we realized what our Presidents gave to our nation. Freedom is never free and these men knew that and gave of themselves.
Then on to the George H. W. Bush Gallery. We saw the name and was not sure what to expect. It was more than we ever expected. This gallery is the Pacific War at its best and worst. Beginning with the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the atomic bomb drop and everything in-between. There are sections for the various Pacific fronts and islands and all the horrors that go with war. For Laurie at times it was overwhelming. Her Dad served in the Pacific and never spoke of the war. He talked about what they did on their time off. Seeing and hearing all about the Pacific events made her wonder just what her Dad had seen. Like the eight Presidents and all the other men and women who served in the Pacific, we are proud of them as even prouder of Laurie’s Dad, Herman J. “Monday” Lowe, for his service in the Navy at such a young age.
After the George H. W. Bush Gallery, we were done for the day. Tomorrow we would return to visit the Pacific Combat Zone. This is part of the museum complex but is located a few blocks away. This area is a living history museum where re-enactments occur monthly twice daily on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately we were not visiting when a re-enactment occurred.
In addition there is a hangar deck with a TBM Avenger and a dock with a PT boat displayed. The boat is the only restored combat veteran Higgins class WWII PT boat on public display. The boat is displayed at night ready to depart on a mission.
Our day and a half spent at the complex was worth every second. For the small city of Fredericksburg, the museum complex is phenomenal and one that should be seen. If you are anywhere near Fredericksburg, make time to visit. We thank Laurie’s Dad (“Monday”), the eight Presidents, and all the other men and women who served in the Pacific. We especially remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice – their lives.