McALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Today marks 81 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor where thousands of US service men and women lost their lives.

As communities across the nation gathered to observe the day, The McAllen Veterans War Memorial of Texas hosted a Pearl Harbor remembrance ceremony earlier this morning.

War veterans, city leaders and community members attended the ceremony to honor those who served.

Jesse Rodriguez, a board member for the Veterans War Memorial of Texas, shares with Valley Central some history on the surprise attack made on December 7, 1941. “We were unexpectedly attacked on a Sunday. And as a result, we lost a lot of service people.” 

The attack, led by Japanese military, resulted in over 3,000 casualties, leaving thousands of families grieving.

Not only did the attack on Pearl Harbor struck a wave of grief for families across the nation, but it initiated the United State’s formal entry into World War II.

McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos says, “They thought that we would bend our knees, and we didn’t. Our country united and ultimately won.”

Although it’s been 81 years since the attack, communities continue honoring those who served at Pearl Harbor and in World War II.

“We must always remember those that fight for our freedom, those who have given us the opportunity to live freely, comfortably here within our homes,” Villalobos adds. “That is the military people – our veterans who have fought before and who are enlisted right now.” 

As a way to continue commemorating the events and people that make up our history, Rodriguez urges younger generations to “carry on the tradition of remembering” both our history and our veterans.