Port Williams is formally known as Marlyn Nelson County Park. There is a small monument located above the beach, not far from a picnic table overlooking the water. It is dedicated to Maryln Wilson, a young man who died at age 19 in the U.S.S. California at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The memorial was dedicated in November, 1944 by C.W. Mays, a Pearl Harbor survivor who was aboard the U.S.S. Nevada. This plaque, located on the Nelson memorial startled me into reverie. Although World War II was over before I was born, “Remember Pearl Harbor” was still part of the national consciousness when I was a child. Since then we’ve undertaken “police actions,” undeclared wars, invasions, and such all over the world. And, of course, we had 9/11. Each sears new images, slogans, or some new marker in our sense of history and our friends and foes change. Regardless of justifications, rights and wrongs, what’s sad to me is that we do forget so many lessons we should have learned as we launch into each new action.