FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — This year marks the 80th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to the United States entering World War II.

Courageous veterans of that historic war were honored Tuesday across the country, as well as in Farmingdale on Long Island, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

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Leonard Finz, 97, said he remembers the stirring words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“He said, ‘This is a day that will live forever in infamy,'” Finz said.

That was the day, eight decades ago, when Japan launched an attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

It shook our country to its core. At the time, Finz was a teenage professional musician.

“I did not want to remain in the band while my brothers and sisters were dying on the battlefields,” Finz said.

He said enlisting in the Army was the proudest moment of the future judge’s life.

Finz and 16 other Long Island World War II veterans were honored at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale on Tuesday.

“We escorted the transports and the merchant ships to Europe,” said 95-year-old Navy veteran Jack Stahl.

Helen Wolfson, who is now 97, volunteered in the Women’s Army Corps.

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“I went to England and France,” Wolfson said.

“I served in Germany and Belgium at the ‘Battle of the Bulge,'” 97-year-old Army veteran David Marshall said.

“The sacrifices of our World War II veterans, their valor, their courage, and particularly this event, the dropping of the roses,” retired Air Force Col. Bill Stratemeier said.

The 80 roses were blessed and in a solemn ceremony were handed off to the pilots for the traditional drop over the Statue of Liberty.

Among the World War II veterans across the country honored on this significant day were McLogan’s parents, Ted and Bea McLogan.

They were teen college students at the University of Michigan on Pearl Harbor Day. They later graduated, and enlisted.

McLogan’s father was sent to Burma, survived Merrill’s Marauders and was inducted into the Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

McLogan’s mother entered the Waves, and worked to decipher encrypted messages for the Navy.

They passed away in recent years, but their Michigan hometowns of Ann Arbor and Omena paid tribute.

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“Pearl Harbor is something that brings us all together,” Finz said. “I loved our country as I do today, and will always until the last day of my breath.”

Jennifer McLogan