Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pacific War museum 'inspires youth by honoring heroes'

Had the local cable news channel on again this afternoon, as I didn't want to get hooked into watching something when I had someplace I wanted to go this afternoon. While it was playing in the background, a story about the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. A little over a year ago, I went to their living history Pacific Combat Zone, and just a few weeks ago, I walked through the grounds on the way to a local German restaurant. I noticed they would be having a special event on Monday, December 7th, with George H.W. Bush as a speaker. They'll be re-opening the George H. W. Bush Gallery at the museum. Unfortunately, I couldn't even consider going, since I need to be at work. I did like seeing the story on the news today, though.

In the piece, they talk to WWII vet of the Battle of the Bulge and Bronze Star recipient Curley Awalt.

"All we want to do is teach them history. We don't teach discipline or anything else, we only teach history to the children," Awalt said.

While volunteering may keep Awalt active, he's also working to honor the important meaning behind the museum.

"I'm doing it because of the enjoyment of showing people what we have here," he said.

It's inspiring the next generation by helping them connect to the past.

It won't let me embed the video, but you can access it here.

This was also apparently the second part of a series running all weekend. The first piece talks about the history of the museum:

Rob Esterlein is the CEO of the Nimitz Foundation, which funds the museum. He said the museum ended up in Fredericksburg by both chance and intention. It started as a homespun idea to honor a favorite son and turned into a world class museum.

"A group of people in Fredericksburg wanted to honor the most famous and influential man to ever come from this town," Esterlein said.

That man is Chester Nimitz. He was born in 1885 and grew up in Fredericksburg, in his grandfather's steamboat shaped hotel. He pursued the military as a way to further his schooling.

Video of this first report can be seen here. I'll check back later to see if there is a part three for Sunday.

Update 12/8/09:

I checked late Sunday, but they didn't have it posted yet. Then, I was watching News 8 again yesterday afternoon and caught the report on the re-opening of the George H.W. Bush Gallery. I've since had the chance to check up on the website.

Video report for part three is here. From the text:

From pre-war mobilization to an incredible look at the attack on Pearl Harbor, the new George H.W. Bush Gallery and National Museum of the Pacific War tells the story like never before.

"This is the only museum in the United States that is devoted 100 percent to the Pacific Operation," World War II veteran and volunteer Curley Awalt said. "The museum is something that the people of Fredericksburg are very proud of."

Lastly, the final video report can be seen here. From the text:

Sixty-eight years ago, Rob Jensen was aboard the USS Maryland at Pearl Harbor.

Tuesday, he waited patiently for a chance to hear a fellow World War II veteran and former president of the United States speak.
Jensen toured the museum and said he was overwhelmed by its impact.

"Too many memories, I don't want anything to do with the war pictures. I can't do it anymore," he said.

The museum tells the story of the War in the Pacific.

I hope to visit the museum some time soon. I think it would make for a nice Saturday or Sunday trip, heading out early, so I can take my time going through the exhibits. I'm sure it will be well worth it.

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