CHICAGO (CBS) — Seventy-six years ago, the United States was attacked by Japanese fighter planes at Pearl Harbor. That infamous day was remembered Thursday at a ceremony at Soldier Field.

A couple of dozen veterans were on-hand for the hour-long ceremony inside Gate O at Soldier Field, next to the Doughboy statue.

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More than 2,300 Navy, Marines and Army personnel and 68 civilians were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. The main message of the ceremony was to never forget the attack on Pearl Harbor and that the United States military should never again be caught unprepared by a foreign power.

The ceremony included a wreath ceremony, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps. (WBBM/Bernie Tafoya)

Gary White, an Operation Desert Storm veteran who served in the Army and past commander of Dorie Miller American Legion Post 915 said he, especially, felt it important to be at Soldier Field to remember.

“Dorie Miller was the African-American. He was a cook in the Navy during Pearl Harbor and when the Japanese attacked he was the one who shot down planes without much training, but he sprang into action,” White said.

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Retired Admiral Cecil Haney (seated) and Retired Major General James Mukoyama (speaking) (WBBM/Bernie Tafoya)

The keynote speaker at the event was Retired U-S Navy Admiral Cecil Haney, the second African-American ever to rise to the rank of admiral. He said he was stationed in Hawaii for nine years and could not help be moved by the USS Arizona Memorial and other reminders of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“I only wish all Americans could go through there and experience, at least, some of that to understand our history and understand why we need to be prepared for our national defense for all the uncertainties that still remain upon us,” Haney said.

Admiral Haney said the United States must always be vigilant to never again allow a Pearl Harbor attack by a foreign country.

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The ceremony included a wreath ceremony, a 21-gun salute, and the playing of Taps.