About 15 years ago, my friend Big Jerry and I decided to go hang out in Fredericksburg Texas for a day, only about an hour and a half drive out of Austin. After a nice lunch at one of the town's notable German restaurants and beer gardens (Auslander), we made our way to the Nimitz Museum, named after the famed World War II admiral who grew up in there. Its collection of photographs and artifacts is limited to the Pacific Theater of the war, often overlooked, as people and Hollywood tend to pay more attention to the war in Europe.
Outside the museum we noticed two tour buses.
We walked through the exhibit among groups of elderly veterans, many wearing hats and vests for their unit reunions, learning what a wretched and wrenching experience the Pacific War had been for our soldiers, who often battled malaria, dysentery, incessant drenching rains and undernourishment in addition to the Japanese. In one room we encountered an oversize photograph, maybe four feet by six, of a group of soldiers wading ashore on Tarawa. One of the older vets pointed to a man in the picture and said "That's me." And looking at him and the photo we could see that he was telling the truth. I wonder how it felt seeing his younger self in a museum, in a snapshot of the most horrible day of his life.