MISSION, Kan. — One Kansas City area veteran made sure Americans would never forget Pearl Harbor long after he was gone. He did so through permanent memorials.
Dorwin Lamkin, who was stationed on the USS Nevada, passed away in 2019 at 96 years old.
He made an impact on this country and in the Kansas City community, including the building of Pearl Harbor Memorial Park. In 2021, they planted a tree there in his honor.
“Without Dorwin, you have one less person to champion the cause, to really help us remember and honor those that fought because they’re all passing away now,” his granddaughter Louisa Lamkin-Timmons said.
Lamkin served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed on the USS Nevada when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 80 years ago. More than 2,300 American troops died that day.
“It colored and set the tone for our family, for his generation and my father’s mind,” Lamkin-Timmons said. “We are very, very proud of his service.”
She said her grandfather’s ship was the only one to make it out of port during the boming.
Although he survived, she said the horrors of the day followed him.
“Immediately following the attack, he spent days picking up body parts,” Lamkin-Timmons said, “and trying to figure out his place and what he could do.”
Lamkin-Timmons said Lamkin struggled with PTSD, which led to alcoholism.
Eventually, he got sober and turned his pain into purpose. Lamkin became president of the Kansas City Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.
“He would point people in the right direction to the right resources,” Lamkin-Timmons said.
Lamkin even shared his experiences with students in the Shawnee Mission School District before he died.
“I think that all he went through, that he kept giving and he kept pushing for the veterans of this country said a lot about the character of the man,” Lamkin-Timmons said.
At there park, located at 5925 Maple Street, there’s a piece of the USS Arizona that you can touch.
“He was about not getting forgotten,” Lamkin-Timmons said, “that those men and women that served on that day and in this world should be recognized with honor and really understand that their place in this world was so significant and made a difference.”