14 May 2009--Hi everyone! Looks like I will be able to do the occassional blog after all...seeing as I am feeling so good in the 2nd and 3rd week of my chemo cycle, Cathy and I are hoping to take a few day trips here and there, and we started this past Tuesday (the 10th) with a trip to Fredricksburg, about 1 1/2 hours north of San Antonio.
We had heard about these museums, called the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Nimitz Museum, but had never been to them before. We started at the Pacific War building, and easily could have spent an entire day there it was so extensive.
I have read a lot of information on the European theater of war during World War II, but really haven't read anywhere near as much about the Pacific theater. This museum would easily bring you up to speed on that, but there came a point that it was really just to much info to absorb in a single day. And certainly too much to try to synopsize in a blog! So I will pass on a few nuggets that I found the most interesting.
Like I said, this museum was so extensive that they actually started with the history of relations between Japan, China, Britain, etc., going all the way back to the 1800s. I know a lot of you are thinking "you've got to be kidding me! I am not reading this stuff" haha! But hold on...I am only giving you the best stuff! haha
Now this is interesting: can you believe that 2 wars were fought over the fact that Britain was forcing China to accept opium as payment for the tea they were buying from the Chinese?
It's also good to know that it is not just us that have a lot of hangups when it comes to race...I guess each of the world's races thinks it is "superior"!
We have always wondered how a culture produces citizens that are willing Kamikazes? The Japanese put militray soldiers in the equivalent of their grammer schools, raising the kids to shout that the best thing that could happen to them as they grew up was "to die for the emperor"!
All the squares and triangles on this map show where relocation and settlement camps were for Japanese Americans. The 2nd pic talks about even Japanese American soldiers came "home" to the camps!
And here we have a list of 5 notables, all of whom spent time in the camps...from a senator and 2 congressmen, to the guys in Karate Kid and Barney Miller.
I think everyone has probably heard the story of the Sullivan family...the family that lost 5 boys, all on the same ship!? What I didn't know though was that the Navy withheld that info from the Sullivan's parents in the hopes of finding more survivors, so Mrs Sullivan ended up finding out that all 5 of her sons were killed from a neighbor. Below is a copy of the letter she wrote to the authorities trying to find out officially, and then a letter written from FDR to her. Notice how polite she is in her letter...so sad!
I didn't know this either.
Our friend Barb came with us...here she is acting the fool!!! haha
From the Pacific War Museum we went around the corner to the Nimitz Museum. It was really small, but I loved it from the outside. The Admiral was born in Fredricksburg, and this building used to be a hotel run by his grandfather.
Nimitz was a very high muckety-muck in the Navy during WWII, but a very modest person. When he came home, he was more interested in honoring those who served with him, than in any honors to himself, so he directed all of the energy of those efforts to this Memorial Courtyard. The entire walkway lists the names of some of those who served, while the walls are lined with pictures of service members and units that served with, or under, him.
Barb and I playing with some of the weapons.
This plane is the same type of plane flown by George H. W. Bush during WWII. Did you know that he was the youngest pilot to serve in WWII? This plane held only 3 men; the pilot, a radarman, and a gunner in the back. Bush was shot down during the war and was the only one to survive the landing.
Another little fun fact: Have you ever heard of the Northrup Grumman company? Well, the Grumman part of that company was the man who designed the wings on this plane...notice how it folds back. After he did this design, the Navy was able to increase the amount of planes on an aircraft carrier from about 20-25 to 80-100!!!
This is an actual PT boat, the same type that Jack Kennedy was the skipper of. They were made of wood.
These are the machines you see in those old movies where the Marines roll up and storm the beaches...if there was an actual enemy out there, I wouldn't come charging out if you put a gun to my head!!!
Here was a mock grave yard. If you enlarge the pics, you can see how at the bottom of each cross they list the number of dead and wounded for each branch of service.
This makeshift operating room was in a quonset hut. Did you know the huts got their name from where they were made? In Quonset, Rhode Island!!!
And here I am as of today. On Tuesday my hair started coming out, and by this morning (Saturday) it was coming out in droves!!! We decided that it was better to just cut it all off...better than having my hair in clumps all over the RV. Cathy did the honors!!!