Today, Dec. 7, will always be remembered in American history as the “date which will live in infamy.”

Then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke those now-famous words after Japan’s surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, and plunged the United States into World War II.

Today marks the 81st anniversary of that date, a day remembered across the country and here in Erie.

Local navy veterans came together for a monthly luncheon Wednesday that had extra meaning falling on Dec. 7 this year.

The group includes vets who served the country in a wide variety of jobs during wars and peacetime. The attack on Pearl Harbor happened well before almost all of these people were even born, but the sacrifice of that day is still personal.

“Too many people today don’t even know, don’t remember, which is sad. There were a lot of people who died. I lost an uncle. History needs to be taught,” said Glenn Campbell, U.S. Navy veteran. 

“As a Navy veteran, this is the ultimate day. This is the ultimate day. They did whatever they could that day to save as many sailors as they could,” said Charles Lehr, U.S. Navy veteran.

“That would have been a hard day for any person, you know, and to understand how those guys were able to survive that horrible day is beyond me,” said Randy Luce, U.S. Navy veteran.

More than 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor.