RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)–December 7th marks the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which killed over 2,400 Americans and ultimately launched the United States into World War II.

Families attended a ceremony at the Virginia War Memorial Tuesday to remember the time that shaped our country’s history. The bell rang over 40 times for the names of every Virginian who died in the bombing and memorial wreaths were presented and laid in remembrance.

Ellen Nau, the daughter of two survivors, said she attends the ceremony every year.

“It brings back many memories of both my parents. My mother was also at Pearl Harbor and was evacuated to San Francisco when they took civilians out,” she said.

Her father was on the USS Dale during this pivotal time in history. Nau said she wants this to be a day to remember, so America never forgets.

“It really means a lot to keep remembering this because our country has to remain vigilant or this could easily happen again, and it happened 20 years ago,” she said.

Mary Haessig Schiano, President of the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, said there’s a difference between knowing the facts of what happened and experiencing the moment.

“My father was named Charles Haessig and he was an orderly on the ship USS Sacramento,” she said. “These people here, their fathers were there on that day including mine and we’re here to remember and keep America alert.”