By Natasha Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Veterans in the Delaware Valley are remembering Pearl Harbor as the 78th anniversary of the attack is Saturday. They joined lawmakers for a special commemoration in South Jersey on Friday.

It was a somber memorial aboard the Battleship New Jersey to mark the 78th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Camden and Gloucester County freeholder boards gathered Friday to honor the lives of those lost during that fateful day.

“We are mindful how much this historic duty station means to Americans for whom Pearl Harbor has long symbolized the unique courage of a great generation who sacrificed so much seven decades ago,” Camden County Freeholder Melinda Kane said.

The recent tragedy at the base in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii wasn’t far from the minds of those attending the service. A gunman opened fire on fellow sailors before dying by suicide.

“I would like to start by acknowledging the recent tragedy at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. Our hearts go out to all those impacted,” Kane said.

The commemoration ceremony also included special honors given to veterans who have served our nation — like 96-year-old Hilda Griggs.

Griggs was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army during World War II. She was part of an all black female battalion serving as postal clerks, making sure the troops got their mail. Their motto was, “No mail, no morale.”

“This was the only thing really that they had that brought attention to where we were and what we were going to do,” Griggs said.

The day was reserved for veterans like Griggs and others who served the country with dignity and honor as the anniversary of a day our nation will never forget.

The Pearl Harbor day commemoration aboard the Battleship New Jersey features a 21-gun salute and wreath laying in the Delaware River.

It’s free and open to the public.