We toured the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg last week. If you’ve never been there, and if you’re ever passing through the hill country of Texas, it’s well worth a visit. But you’ll need to allow plenty of time. There’s a reason the tickets are valid for two days!
Things I loved about the museum:
- It gave the history and background, bringing different parts of the world before war to life, and inviting readers to ponder war’s various causes.
- A timeline running all around the ceiling told what was happening in other parts of the world, tying war in the Pacific to war in Europe and beyond.
- Exhibits abounded with human touches, the voices of real people, the small things left behind.
- The big picture was beautifully and clearly depicted, with lots of displays showing troop movements, lessons learned, etc., followed by later movements using those lessons learned.
- It brought to life, for me, the place where my father spent much of the war, in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
- It introduced me to a generous guide who asked what brought us to Texas and shook our hands when we told him our son is a doctor in the military.
My Dad told me once it was good, God’s providence even, that he’d been taken prisoner. If he’d made it out on the ship, he’d have drowned. If he’d stayed free another few days, he’d have joined the air crew and been killed. Instead he saw things no one should ever see, ate snake but could never say what it tasted like because one snake was shared between so many (“It was protein” he said), grew sick and nearly died, helped friends survive, and lived to father me. He died more years ago than I care to remember, but he is always close to my heart.
To my Dad.
Where you were then,
I wonder did you dream, or think of me?
Where you are now,
I wonder what great mysteries you see.
Where you have been,
I’m glad I’ll never go, for I am free.
What you have seen,
I’m glad I’ll never know. But someday when
We meet again,
I hope I’ll be all that you dreamed for me.
Thank you Dad. And thank you God for saving him.
Sheila Deeth is the author of Divide by Zero, Infinite Sum and Imaginary Numbers, coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.