Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day to take place on December 7

On the 75th National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day observed on Wednesday, Dec. 7, Owego and Tioga County will honor the memory of an Owego seaman among the 1,177 gallant sailors and marines entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on the Battleship U.S.S. Arizona. American flags are at half-staff on “A Day That Will Live in Infamy.”

Five Tioga County servicemen of the Greatest Generation were at Pearl Harbor that morning 75 years ago. One is still there and only one of the four who survived and came home after Pacific Theatre duty is still living and will be the keynote speaker at the memorial. 

Veterans of all wars and the public are welcome to attend a special remembrance ceremony for the Pearl Harbor heroes and survivors at 12:55 p.m. – the time Japan bombed Pearl Harbor – at the Tioga County Veterans Memorial on the south lawn of the Tioga County Courthouse. 

Tioga County’s first WWII casualty was Seaman First Class Delmar Dale Sibley of Owego. He was killed in action aboard the Battleship USS Arizona at age 23 and 23 days before his 24th birthday. Delmar lived with his uncle and aunt, Owego Police Chief Earl Sibley and his wife Lucy, while working at Endicott Johnson-Owego. 

Of the four Tioga County survivors, one is still living and three are deceased. 

Army Air Corps Staff Sergeant Charles “Bill” Kennedy of Owego was 20-years-old at Hickam Field when a flight of some 50 dive bombers and fighters struck where A-20, B-18 and B-17 were parked wingtip to wingtip. Now 95, Kennedy was with an Air Force squadron of about 240 people. 

“We lost ten men and about 32 were wounded, lost all our airplanes and our barracks were pretty well shot up,” Kennedy said.  

Kennedy will share those memories on the 75th anniversary at the WWII Memorial since he won’t be a “snow bird” in Raleigh, N.C.   

Family and relatives of deceased Pearl Harbor Survivors are invited to attend the Remembrance.

Marine Lester Dunham of Owego enlisted in the Corps in 1939 and was one of the first from Tioga County to do so. He was on guard duty at time of the attack patrolling the docks at Pearl Harbor. The combat Marine went on to participate in the Guadalcanal campaign with others in his 1st Marine Division. There he escaped from a foxhole just before it blew up.  

Army Tech Sergeant Donald Stocks of Owego was also at Hickam Field. He was a cook on the day of the attack he left the kitchen and grabbed a rifle to fight. Back home he did not talk about that day. 

Army Sergeant Richard Hopkins of Berkshire enlisted on April 2, 1940 and arrived in Honolulu June 17, 1940. He was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks at the time of the attack. 

Hopkins remembers the planes coming in and bombs dropping. It’s something you do not forget. He recalls looking out of his barracks. “They were hauling wounded on cars and trucks, anything they could get them on to rush them to the hospital.” Hopkins also spent 21 days on the front lines at Guadalcanal against the Japanese who “would not surrender.” 

Hopkins is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal – the nation’s fourth highest award – for his meritorious service in a combat zone. 

There may have been others from Tioga County at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Email what you know to Glenn A. Warner Post 1371 Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Chairman Jim Raftis, Sr. at, or call 687-4229. 

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