ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- 81 years ago, the United States changed forever. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it a “date which will live in infamy.” The Japanese staged a surprise attack upon the U.S Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

More than 2,400 American servicemen were killed on December 7, 1941. Hundreds of others injured and the next day, President Roosevelt officially declaring war on Japan. Charlie Bowen, Army Veteran, said growing up, he remembered the stories told by his mother about what life was like after the attack.

“My mom was about six years old when that happened. My uncle, I think he turned about 18, he ended up joining the military after what happened in Pearl Harbor,” Bowen recalled.

Bowen said remembering Pearl Harbor serves as a reminder of how much the military has developed over the years. He said that December 7 is a day to remember those who laid a path for the military and the sacrifice that was made 81 years ago.

Frank Young, Air Force Veteran, said he attends the Abilene Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6873 Pearl Harbor remembrance every year, because it is crucial to preserve our nations history.

“Everybody in my time learned about all that, and its good that they teach it, and they need to keep teaching it,” said Young.

Young stressed the importance of teaching younger generations about this part of history and honor the lives taken too soon.