FREDERICKSBURG, Texas, Sept. 2 -- Former President George Bush said Saturday that America 'must stay involved in the world' to remain united. Bush, and his son, Gov. George W. Bush, joined veterans in a parade and World War II victory celebration that has attracted about 30,000 spectators. Bush spoke to the crowd after the parade and said that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor because they believed the nation, which on the surface appeared to be helplessly divided, would never be able to unite.' But, Bush said, Pearl Harbor united the country in much the same way as Operation Desert Storm, which he oversaw from the White House. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush led the parade -- billed as the 'last victory parade of the war' -- with the governor in a restored World War II staff car. Fredericksburg, a small Texas town in the central hill country is the birthplace of Adm. Chester Nimitz, the famed World War II Pacific naval commander who signed the peace treaty with Japan on behalf of the United States. Nimitz' son, Rear Adm. Chester Nimitz Jr., was also on hand at the festivities. Other notables at the celebration included celebrity veterans like Cliff Robertson and Eddie Albert. Nine Congressional Medal of Honor winners from the Pacific theater were featured prominently in the parade, which was punctuated by the roar of World War II vintage aircraft flying overhead. Bush noted that the day was not only the 50th anniversary of the Japanese surrender, but also the 51st anniversary of the day his Navy avenger torpedo bomber was shot down in the Pacific.
Bush dedicated the Plaza of the Presidents at the Nimitz Museum, an exhibit dedicated to chief executives from Roosevelt through Bush who served in the war effort. The Nimitz Museum is the only museum in the country dedicated solely to the war in the Pacific.