Saturday, May 24, 2003

Judge Williams to speak at dedication of Lee County war memorial

A memorial to honor the 197 Lee Countians who died fighting for the United States will be dedicated this weekend, as described in this report, which notes that federal judge Glen Williams, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, will be the guest speaker.

Judge Williams enlisted in the Navy and went to New York City for accelerated officer training, where one of his roommates in the dormitories at Columbia was the future author Herman Wouk (along with some others whose last names started with 'W'). Some of their experiences were retold in Wouk's novel The Caine Mutiny, which was made into the movie with Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Van Johnson, and Fred MacMurray. (I think it was remade some time after that, but the original movie is still the best.)

Judge Williams tells stories about his experience in the Navy all the time, but in fits and starts, so I have probably heard part of 100 different stories from his war experiences. One of the most ridiculous and most easily retold is this one: in the officer training school, all of the cadet officers were from Yale, including Cyrus Vance, who was later Secretary of State under President Carter. Before the training was over, the enrollees did an amateur theatrical production, in which all of the officers admitted that they were not actually from Yale - Judge Williams' line that he was not from Yale, he was in jail, but it was in Sweden where they pronounced it like "yale."

No comments: