Published: Dec 07, 2010 11:14 PM EST
Updated: Dec 07, 2010 8:17 PM EST

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- It's been 69 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor shook the nation. But for those who lived through it, the tragedy is still fresh on their minds.

"There was just one Japanese plane after another, and another, and another. They just kept dropping bombs," U.S. Marine Kay Altemus remembers.

91-year old Altemus recalls watching the chilling attacks on Pearl Harbor unfold on her television screen so many years ago.

"I was absolutely amazed at the bombings that went on, but I didn't feel like I could do anything about it at that time. It wasn't maybe a year after that, that the seed was planted...maybe I could be a Lady Marine," Altemus said.

And that's exactly what she did. Altemus enlisted shortly after Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor. She was 22-years old.

"My mother did not approve. She didn't think young ladies belonged in the service. But I wanted to go, and if the Marines took me, I was going," Altemus said.

Today, she is joined by dozens of fellow servicemen and women at the Cape Coral Veteran's Foundation...all gathering to remember December 7th, 1941...a day that changed a nation forever.

"I look around the room and I see all these lives that were affected by the bombings. Each one has it's own story," Altemus said Tuesday.

About 2,400 U.S. Servicemen and women lost their lives during the 1941 attack. Another 1,200 were wounded.