EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been nearly 81 years since the deadly Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii.

A National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ceremony was held Sunday in Easthampton to reflect on the WWII attack that claimed the lives of more than 2,400 Americans and injured more than 1,100. The ceremony included an opening prayer, the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a rendition of the National Anthem.

Shortly after, the mayor proclaimed Sunday as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and attendees headed toward the Pearl Harbor Veterans Memorial Bridge on Route 5 for a symbolic wreath toss.

“The theme this year is everlasting legacy. well, as the years go by that everlasting legacy is in danger,” said Brian Willette, VFW Post 3104, from South Hadley.

That’s why Willette, Sergeant At Arms of the ceremony, and other attendees gather each year to ensure future generations know of the horror that drew the U.S. into WWII. And event organizers say it’s especially important for young people to remember the sacrifices made on that day.

“Without involving our youth, they won’t know what that service means, or what that legacy is to protect, and so that’s our goal today,” said Willette.

“It was a really important time in history and I feel that everybody should be educated on it. Zach, South Hadley