WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Wednesday marked 81 years since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into World War II.

More than 2,000 Americans were killed in that attack. Many of those were recognized during a special ceremony held in Washington.

As members and veterans of each military branch raised their respective flag — those who died at Pearl Harbor, prisoners of war those missing In action and veterans from all military branches — were honored for their service and ultimate sacrifice.

Speakers and those who attended the event all said one thing was common, honor and never forgetting the men and women who tragically lost their lives that day.

“You don’t mess with us, we’re not gonna mess with you,” Washington City Council Member William Pitt said. “But America is still America and to see this commemorated on Pearl Harbor Day is very amazing.”

The events at Pearl Harbor hit home for many and affected those they knew personally, which is why this day is so important to them.

“I’ve had some great-uncles that fought over there and one of my uncles was at Pearl Harbor,” said Charles Beddard, an Army veteran in the Vietnam War.

“I had a neighbor that was there and shared that story in the communities, so I have a special bond for what happened that day,” said Connelle Purvis, another Vietnam War veteran.

Veteran Jose Ortiz said this is a chance to never forget our country’s history.

“It’s those things that are important, and if we don’t mention these things and keep continuing to bring them up, we’re bound to repeat the failures of the past,” Ortiz said.

Pitt said having hope in knowing we will get through tough times together as a country is what matters.

To honor those who lost their lives, Governor Roy Cooper ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff at state facilities from sunrise to sunset.