MONCTON -- Dec. 6 is a day of heartache and remembrance.

Vigils were held across the region Friday to remember the victims of the attack at Montreal's Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.

While it may have been 30 years ago, many of the people who attended say the same kind of pain is still widespread today.

The Dalhousie University women in Engineering Society took a minute to remember each one of the victims who had aspirations just like them.

"Many of them were in their final years of study just like me, presenting their final senior projects like I did last week and looking forward to their bright futures, just like the fourteen students here today," said Sara Evely of the Dalhousie Women in Engineering Student Association.

A moment of silence honoured the 14 women who died that day, which is now designated as a national day of remembrance and action on violence against women.

"The fact that it is the national day of remembrance and action is really apt and really beautiful," said Beth Lyons, Executive Director of the New Brunswick Women's Council."That we both have to remember these women who were killed in the Montreal Massacre, as well as all women who have been killed."

In Fredericton, a vigil was held. Premier Blaine Higgs recalled his university years when his engineering class was male-dominated.

He says it's important to recognize the strides that have been made from women leading the way in the industry.

"I think we've learned so much from women who can actually juggle so many things and do them so well, and it helps us all be better," Higgs said.

The Universite de Moncton's day of commemoration was a time to remember the fallen, but to also acknowledge that there's still work to be done.

"We still have to recognize that every day there is violence against women," said volunteer Dominique Leger. "Whether it's femicide, or whether its micro-aggressions happening on social media, or what we see on television."

Micheline Melanson, who is on the university's commemoration organizing committee, says "we still feel the pain because we know it's not over. We know there is still work to be done and it's still happening."

Some who work with victims of violence say they treat far more women than men.

"I find that women are usually more vulnerable, so more as a target," said Emmanuelle Landry, a sexual assault nurse examiner.

The Universite de Moncton was one of 14 universities that projected a beam of light into the sky on Friday night – each beam of light representing one of the 14 victims.