In war, ordinary men become heroes. To give your life for your country, to put yourself in harms way for others, is heroic.
We find ourselves in Fredricksburg, Texas where one of the best WWII Museums in the U.S. surrounds the accomplishments of Admiral Nimitz who was born here. He was a modest man, from a small community who gave up his high school education to study for entrance into Annapolis. He rose to great heights in the Navy and was admired by his peers and the enlisted men as well. He was against the bomb; he always wanted peace before killing.
He refused lucrative jobs after his retirement from the Navy and chose to serve his country in other ways. Alameda County, CA has a freeway named for him and I always wondered about this man’s accomplishments. Now I know.
This unusual looking building was the Nimitz family hotel that is now part of the National WWII Museum complex. This is a thorough and excellent presentation of his career and the war. He was raised here by his mother and grandparents. His father died when he was 5 months old. It takes about 5 hours to get through the exhibits in the 33,000 square foot complex.
Early in his career, midshipmen Nimitz met Heihachiro Togo and was very impressed with the Japanese leader. In the end, he was part of the surrender group and signed the papers with the Japanese on behalf of the United States.
In the Presidents Plaza, I couldn’t help but admire Dwight Eisenhower’s statement about war: “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.” It is an ugly truth that the past indicates war is a constant among tribes, communities and nations and always will be.
Nimitz instructed that all men who served under him and gave their lives for us be remembered on this memory wall. It is in reality many walls that stretch for a block. It also encloses a peace garden built by the Japanese after the war.
The town is historic and quaint with many wonderful old buildings and shops. We found people here friendly and fun. Today we expect to taste some authentic, old style German food at Lindenbaums.
They have a brewpub here where I got to sip my favorite porter while Jim tasted that weak looking little glass of “horse piss.” Well, not everyone is perfect.