Friday is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and people around the country and in Missouri are paying respects to those who sacrificed their lives during the surprise military strike by Japan against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
A young sailor who lost his life during the attack is being remembered during a ceremony in southeast Missouri’s Cape Girardeau.
19-year-old Lloyd Dale Clippard was the first World War II causality from the town. He was on the USS Utah when it was bombed during Pearl Harbor.
Matt Hampton is the Senior Vice Commander at VFW Post 3838, which is founded under Clippard’s name. He thinks the young sailor was not only the first causality from Cape Girardeau but arguably one of the very first to die in the surprise bombing.
“According to the timeline the USS Utah was one of the very first ships to be hit in Pearl Harbor,” Hampton said. “Like everybody else he had no idea what was going to happen, and it would be neat today to be able to ask his spirit what was going through his mind. I would love to know that but unfortunately, we can’t. He is still there. He is still at Pearl Harbor in the hull of that ship and will never come home.”
Even though his body was never found Hampton says the city of Cape Girardeau still held a memorial service for Clippard a few weeks after the attack at the Teacher’s College, which is now Southeast Missouri State University.
“A lot of people thought the great war World War I was over and there would never be another war like it,” said Hampton. “Well then this attack occurred and it’s stirring up old feelings, and for a lot of those veterans, those memories are starting to come back. It has a lot of impact to think here we are honoring somebody, and this just happened, and this is somebody from our hometown. This is someone who was from here, born here, raised here, went to school here. It’s not just a face on a wall, he was one of us.”
Hampton said he has a goal of honoring every single veteran from Cape Girardeau County on the anniversary of their deaths.
There’s a Friday Pearl Harbor ceremony in Cape Girardeau, an event that has taken place for more than three decades. It’s a collaboration between the local American Legion Post, local Marine Corps. League and The Disabled American Veterans.