NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was a ceremony on Tuesday morning at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Family members of local survivors spoke to CBS2’s Alice Gainer.

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They placed a wreath in the Hudson River and said it is now their responsibility to share their loved ones’ stories about Dec. 7, 1941.

“I’m feeling my dad’s spirit here with us all today. He would, you know, be here every year,” Michael Galella said.

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This past September, at the age of 100, Armando “Chick” Galella of Tarrytown, New York passed away.

“When they came home, it was their obligation to tell stories about the ones who didn’t come home,” Michael Galella said.

In 2017, Aaron Chabin of Queens died at the age of 94. Both Chabin and Armando Galella had been annual speakers at the annual commemoration.

In all, 2,403 service members and civilians were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor and other locations in Hawaii. It was a defining moment that led to the United States’ entry into World War II.

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Chabin was 18 years old then. His wife and daughter recounted a memory he shared.

“The planes came so low that he said you could see the pilot … the Japanese pilots,” wife Helen Chabin said.

“His commander handed him a loaded .45-caliber pistol and said six bullets are for the Japanese, one is for you. Don’t be taken prisoner,” Michele Chabin added.

Eighty years later, many of the remaining Pearl Harbor survivors are now age 100 and older. The absence of any at Tuesday’s event highlights the need for education and remembrance.

“It was an experience that really did define his life,” Helene Chabin said.

“That’s why my father always spoke to schools and to young kids,” Michael Galella said. “Men and women died for this country so you could come here, live your life and do what you want to do. It’s about teaching history.”

Just last week, a White House proclamation was issued recognizing Tuesday as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

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According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, of the 16 million who served in World War II, roughly 240,000 are still living.

Alice Gainer