Thursday, April 16, 2009

War and Peace in Fredericksburg, Texas

I recently toured the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. This enormous collection of memorabilia related to Pacific conflict during the second World War includes a pair of automated mannequins talking on a dark battlefield, a miniature Japanese submarine, and a full-size B-25 plane. There are uniforms, medals, weapons, and literally thousands of memorabilia related to the conflict.

But my favorite section was the Japanese Garden of Peace, a gift to the United States from Japanese military leaders in honor of later peace between the two nations, native son, Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, and his long friendship with Japanese Admiral Togo.

Dedicated in 1976, the serene sun-drenched garden features glistening ponds and streams, lush greenery and hand-picked stones. There are soaring bamboo plants, stone pagodas and lanterns, and a long string of origami cranes hangs from a tree - a common Japanese symbol representing peace. This natural oasis also includes a building that replicates Admiral Togo's study in Japan.

No part of the garden drew me in so completely as the circular pattern etched into a large area of meticulously raked gravel, which I wanted to follow with a rake myself. The garden provides a beautiful and peaceful respite from thoughts of war and everyday life.

No comments: