For anyone interested in World War II history and, specifically, the war in the Pacific theatre the National Museum of the Pacific War is a “must-see”. Located in Fredericksburg, Texas—the childhood home of Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet—the museum offers an amazingly comprehensive view of the conflict that claimed so much of our country’s blood, sweat, and treasure.
The atmosphere within the museum has been carefully crafted in a way that effectively transports its visitors back in time. The monumental events that occurred during the years 1941 through 1945 are depicted via outstanding visual and audio displays throughout the museum.
What’s in the National Museum of the Pacific War?
The museum contains a treasure trove of:
- Small arms
- Large artillery pieces (very impressive in quantity and scope)
- A miniature Japanese submarine
- Uniforms (US and Japan)
- Sit-and-listen audio/visual tutorials on critical battles and events
- A section completely devoted to the prelude to war. An objective overview of the complex issues at work behind the scenes prior to the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor.
One could easily spend an entire day within the museum and still not be able to fully consume all that it has to offer!
The Museum’s Inspiration
While inside the museum even the most jaded of visitors has to feel a sense of reverence and awe. What this nation managed to do within a mere four-year time span is unparalleled in history. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor the US was not remotely on a war footing. Yet, from that inauspicious beginning our country rose to bear the brunt of Japanese aggression. An even greater achievement given the fact that we were simultaneously playing a key role in the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Not before or since have we as a nation been so united for such a prolonged period of time. Hard sacrifices were made and shared. We had leaders, both civilian and military, that were more than up to the task. Leaders that led and inspired confidence. Men and women that, in many cases, rose to be more than they might ordinarily have been. This was not a holy crusade. No wars are. But, this was an extraordinary example of people, big and small, making life-altering sacrifice for a cause bigger than themselves.
The young men that fought in this war and survived are rapidly vanishing from our midst. A soldier that was 20 years old in 1943 would be 94 today. Within a few years the last of them will be gone and as with veterans of all previous wars, their voices will start to fade in the mist of time. Fortunately, institutions like the National Museum of the Pacific War will continue to provide us with reminders of what they did and how they did it.
It is well worth the visit and you are guaranteed to walk out its doors with refreshed reverence for this period in our nation’s history!
A link to the Museum’s website…