War museums in New Orleans and Texas this week are sponsoring memorial ceremonies and mounting exhibits on the Pacific theater of World War II to mark the 60th anniversary of the attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, where the Japanese killed more than 2,000 U.S. servicemen.
U.S. Navy Secretary Gordon England and former President George Bush are scheduled to speak at a "Remember Pearl Harbor 2001" commemoration that starts at 11:15 a.m. Friday at the National Museum of the Pacific War (formerly the Admiral Nimitz Museum) in Fredericksburg, 75 miles northwest of San Antonio. On the same day, the museum will premiere the "Pacific Combat Zone," a 31/2-acre outdoor area two blocks away that displays military vehicles. The centerpiece is a restored PT (patrol torpedo) boat, one of a class of vessels nicknamed "Wooden Wonders" and valued for speed and versatility in the war. (President John F. Kennedy served on PT-109.)
The outdoor exhibit also features a re-created aircraft-carrier hangar deck; a TBM Avenger plane; and a U.S. landing craft and a Japanese tank squaring off on a simulated beachhead.
The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and free for children age 5 and under. The ceremony Friday, which will be followed by a parade and flyover of WWII aircraft, is free. (866) 732-7560, http://www.nimitz-museum.org.
In New Orleans, the new National D-Day Museum is sponsoring three days of activities. The splashiest--literally--involves reenactors re-creating a Pacific-style amphibious landing on the beaches of Lake Pontchartrain on Saturday. The reenactment will include flyovers by vintage Japanese and U.S. aircraft.
Among a dozen or so other events are a downtown parade (Friday), tours of several U.S. military ships (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a "Pacific War Film Festival" (Friday and Saturday) and discussion panels with veterans and historians.
On Friday the museum will open a 5,000-square-foot exhibit on the Pacific war with photos, artifacts and a map of the battles.
Most of the weekend's events are free. Admission to the museum, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, is $10 adults, $5 ages 5 to 17, free under 5. (504) 527-6012, http://www.ddaymuseum.org.
In Honolulu, the USS Arizona Memorial, which commemorates the 1941 attack, will be closed to the public Friday. Special ceremonies are planned there for Pearl Harbor survivors and families.