Local veteran's name added to Vietnam War memorial in Sacramento

Photo courtesy of Nancy Williams.

A local veteran is being added this Saturday to California's Vietnam Memorial in Sacramento, 50 years after his combat service.

Jim Williams, an Arvin High alumnus, joined the Army in 1966 at age 19. He was an infantryman, awarded two Purple Hearts during his 13-month tour in Vietnam.

"He didn't think he would live to be 21, because he thought he would die in Vietnam," said Williams’ wife, Nancy.

Jim ended up living decades after the war, but 50 years after his tour of duty he died of complication from Agent Orange.

Nancy was married to Jim for nearly 50 years. It was love at first sight.

"We met after church. A week later, we went on our first date, and two weeks after that we were engaged," said Nancy.

Their love for one another was easy, but Jim's health wasn't easy.

After years of medical complications, such as kidney failure and heart problems, Jim died in April.

"We came home, and brought death with us, and that's pretty much the way he saw it ... I did my part, I don't mind giving up my life for my country, I just would like to be here longer to take care of you," described Nancy.

Jim will be remembered for the ultimate sacrifice – his name unveiled on the state memorial.

"I think he would be blown away,” his wife said. “This was an extremely patriotic man.”

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