When I was looking for ideas for Father's Day last month, one thing I came across that I thought my dad would like was the Pacific Combat Living History Program at The National Museum of the Pacific War, which is located in, of all places, Fredericksburg, Texas. If that seems strange to you, there is a reasonable explanation: Fredericksburg is the hometown of Admiral Chester Nimitz, who had played a key role in the Pacific campaign during World War II. Knowing how my dad loves history, particularly military history, my sisters and I decided to include the admission to the current living history program in his Father's Day gift.
The program is not presented all the time: by the time Father's Day arrived, the first two of five weekends of presentations had already passed. This weekend marks the third weekend of presentations. This was the weekend my parents chose to make the drive to Fredericksburg. My mom called me after the presentation was over so my dad could tell me about it. He really liked it - it was kind of like a kid wanting to talk about a really cool field trip he went on at school ;-)
Included in the presentation, which lasted about 90 minutes, was exhibition of the period uniforms and gear that both American and Japanese military personnel used and demonstration of period weapons. Mom told me they had been able to convert all but one of the weapons to fire blanks. The one they couldn't convert was the flamethrower. This one was only demonstrated during the "assault" on the "Japanese bunker" at the end of the program...
After attending this program today, my mom was asking me about her dad's service during World War II. Grandpa never talked about his time in the Navy, and she knows I've kind of made myself a bit of a family historian, and that I've got a photocopy of the diary my grandfather kept during his sea service in World War II. I'll have to finish going over that diary soon, matching my grandfather's notes to specific events in the Pacific campaign.
Although I'm from Texas and have been through Fredericksburg, I've never been to the National Museum of the Pacific War. I would like to visit the museum and see this living history program, so I'm going to do my best to make it to one of the two remaining weekends: September 13 & 14, and November 8 & 9. There are three presentations each day, on a first-come, first-served basis, at 10:30am, 1:00pm and 3:30pm. Admission to the living history program is $5 per person, and is separate from the normal museum admission (which is not required for this program). If you are in the area over either one of these weekends and are interested in this nation's history, I highly recommend - based on my parents' "reviews" - that you make an effort to go.