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Freedom and a Fall Morning in Fredricksburg

I didn’t come for a ceremony. 

The beautiful fall  morning in  Fredricksburg, was perfect for a window-shopping stroll; cool, clear and not-too-crowded.

With the exception of my long -awaited and giddiness-inducing visit to Carol Hicks Bolton Antiquities, I have more interest in the buildings the shops occupy and the gardens that surround them than I have in the goods inside for sale.  My window-shopping walk was more of a window-garden-admiring tour. 

Zinc Window Planter

Courtyard gardens.Fredricksburg Courtyard with a flag

Texas-flavored gardens complete with prickly pear cactus.  Thornless, thankfully.

Prickly Pear in Texas GardenPeace Garden

Even Japanese gardens. 

Japenese Garden of Peace

This Garden of Peace was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Japan with prayers for everlasting world peace through the goodwill or our two nations.

Peace Garden Plaque 

Though I tend to be more interested in shops and plants than ships and planes, I couldn’t resist the old limestone walls of the Memorial Courtyard of the Pacific War Museum, and my husband couldn’t  pass up a chance to examine the huge ship propellor and water feature.    

Viewing Ship Propeller

The cut-stone walls date back to the 1800s and the early days of the old Nimitz Hotel. 

Pacific Memorial Wall

They now hold plaques honoring the contributions of individuals, ships and units during the war in the Pacific.

Pacific War Memorial

As I examined the walls my attention was drawn over the wall where a small group of people were seated.  They were focused on three men standing before them. 

Pacific War Veterans

I’m not even sure exactly what occasion brought them together that day, but it was obvious there was a bond between the men.

Pacific War veterans

I listened as one, then the next, spoke about memories of a war that took them far away from home and family.  Funny stories of packages of  foul-smelling Easter eggs sent by a loving, but not too practical, mom to a son on a ship in tropical waters on the other side of the world.  Tearful stories of how a commanding officer had been like a father to a young man far away from his real father’s watchful eye. 

Pacific War veterans

My eavesdropping ended before the stories were done, but not before being struck by the value and precious nature of these stories.  How many more opportunities will we have to hear them straight from the lips of those who sacrificed so much?



They fought together as brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation — the obligation to insure that their sacrifice will help make this a better and safer world in which to live.

Chester W. Nimitz, Fleet Admiral , USN 1885-1966

Our country is not a perfect place.  We are not a perfect people.  We are still in the process of forming that “more perfect union.”   Every time we go to the polling booth we get a chance to work toward that goal.  What a wonderful opportunity! I am thankful for my right to vote, and words I overheard from three men on a fall day in Fredricksburg have reminded me of the cost of all the rights and freedoms I enjoy.

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!


One Comment

  1. Josh
    Posted 6 Nov ’12 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    They truly earned their status as “the greatest generation.” We owe them a great debt.

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