UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
COLLEGE STATION -- It was 70 years ago today that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese.
That morning more than 2,000 men and women died in the surprise attack. So today, Central Texans joined together to remember the lives lost and honor those who fought during WWII.
For John Whitley, the attack on Pearl Harbor seems like only yesterday. The then 21 year-old was starting his first day out of basic training when the Japanese struck.
"It's one of those things. They slipped in there on us and caught us with everything tied up."
And even though it was 70 years ago today, the memories are just as painful.
Today more than 50 gathered at the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial at Veterans Park to reflect on what happened.
"I talk to my kids every year about what happened on December 7th in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor, the attack of the Japanese, and I just think it's important to teach our children about history and what happened," said Jennifer Pettibon.
And for Pettibon's son Joseph, today's memorial was something he says he'll never forget.
"It was kind of scary and a little exciting. I was really nervous to go meet Mr. Whitley but it was a good experience."
During the memorial, a statue was unveiled to remember the fallen and honor those veterans like Whitley, who are a living reminder of the sacrifices Americans made.