HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- It has been a beautiful day outside, as tens of thousands make their way to local beaches for Memorial Day. Officials were expecting larger than normal crowds as well as higher than normal surf.
"Huntington Beach is awesome. Very patriotic, said Meghan Willis. "I'm excited to be out here celebrating Memorial Day."
Whether it's playing on the sand, cooling down in the water, or just relaxing and catching some sun, there's a little something for everyone.
"Days like today are very special, I think, to our community," said Huntington Beach Mayor Barbara Delgleize.
However, it is not lost on people who are enjoying the day what this holiday is all about.
"Everyone who served our country and sacrificed their lives for us, and allow us these freedoms to be here doing exactly this," said Chris Armstrong.
"We want to make sure that we respect everyone who's fallen for us to be out here to enjoy all of this beautiful weather," Willis said.
The city commemorated the holiday by honoring those who served in the military but never made it back home.
They paid tribute to those fallen heroes from this community and to all who served and died for this country.
"I think all those who have gone before us know and pray that we're grateful for the service they gave, and the ultimate sacrifice," Delgleize said.
It's a sacrifice that must never be forgotten.
"Freedom isn't free," Willis said. "There's a lot of people who died for it so we have to make sure to respect them, and honor them, and remember that."
Some beach visitors told Eyewitness News that it's easy to get distracted by what Memorial Day is all about, and encourage everyone to just take a step back, even if it's just for a minute, and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.