Tioga County commemorates 80th Pearl Harbor Anniversary
Owego (WBNG) - President Franklin D. Roosevelt labeled Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, as the “date which will live in infamy.”
While the events of Pearl Harbor happened thousands of miles away from the Southern Tier, its impact continues to be felt in the community.
At 12:55 p.m. on Tuesday, the sound of a bugle rang out, marking the moment Japan bombed Pearl Harbor 80 years ago.
Among the over 2,400 sailors and marines who lost their lives that day was Seaman First Class Delmar Dale Sibley of Owego, just 23 years old and 23 days before his 24th birthday.
“Delmar is still aboard the USS Arizona.”
The remembrance service was held at the VFW Post 1371 in the hall bearing his name.
“We pray this day for all who have given their lives in defense of our country especially those who died on this day 80 years ago,” said Deacon Michael Donovan.
Five Tioga County Servicemen were stationed at Pearl Harbor that Sunday morning. Four became Pearl Harbor survivors.
Family members shared their memories and stories.
Like those of Army Sergeant Richard Hopkins. He was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks at the time of the attack. Hopkins is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal.
“He was very humble of his service to his country,” said his son-in-law.
The daughter of Army Tech Sergeant Donald Stocks also spoke. He was a cook on the day of the attack and left the kitchen and grabbed a rifle to fight.
His daughter read a poem that his mother had clipped from a newspaper while he was serving overseas.
“He knows what he’s fighting for,” she read,” It’s for all that is good and decent and to end this thing called war.”
Lester Dunham was one of the first from Tioga County to enlist in the Marine Corps in 1939. His son shared how his father was on guard duty when the attack began.
“Dad was responsible for pulling servicemen out of the water both dead and alive,” said Lee Dunham, “Dad didn’t talk too much about the war because he lost a lot of close friends.”
Gordon Ichikawa shared his family’s different experiences with his mother spending three years in a Japanese-American Internment Camp while his dad Tom enlisted in the Army on Pearl Harbor Day. He is the recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.
“I was never in the service,” said Gordon Ichikawa, “And he would always say if you were in the service you would understand the value of what you have here.”
The plea by many at the ceremony was to make sure we do not forget our past and continue to honor all they fought for.
“I wish these younger generations would realize what these folks went through,” said Dunham, " It’s a lost thing that we don’t see much of anymore is this being taught to our younger generations.”
Tioga County Legislative Chair Marty Sauerbrey proclaims Dec. 7 Pearl Harbor Day in Tioga County.
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