SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — On this Memorial Day, we remember and honor our fallen soldiers and we recognize their bravery and courage.

From the San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio to the Mare Island Naval Cemetery, there were solemn tributes to remember the military members who died in the line of duty.

On this Memorial Day, families who lost a service member found comfort that their loved ones would always be remembered.

MORE: President Biden delivers Memorial Day address at 156th National Memorial Day Observance

At San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presido, there was praise for those men and women who have served and sacrificed.

“We stand here today in awe of their valor, heroism and patriotism. And with profound love and admiration, we recognize the extraordinary strength and resilience of our Gold Star Families,” said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D) Speaker Emerita.

Miles away at Mare Island Naval Cemetery, continued heartfelt gratitude for those service members who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Today is not a day off. It is not about a vacation day. Today is about recognition that you didn’t have to… sacrifice your life today for the freedom that you get to experience,” said California Assembly Member Lori Wilson of Suisun.

Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell joined other dignitaries to pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of fallen heroes.

This was the first Memorial Day at Mare Island Naval Cemetery.

Mare Island’s National Cemetery is the oldest naval cemetery on the West Coast and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Memorial Day service at Fisherman’s Wharf honors submarine sailors of WWII

In San Francisco, a special tribute on Memorial Day to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Silent Service, better known as submarine sailors.

In San Francisco, a special tribute on Memorial Day to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Silent Service, better known as submarine sailors.

A floating Fisherman’s Wharf tourist attraction served as the backdrop for the Lost Boat ceremony, honoring sailors who gave their lives during World War II.

A solemn service on board the USS Pampanito, a floating piece of history docked in the corner of Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf. She served six deployments during WWII but on this Memorial Day, the submarine hosted a ceremony to honor those who never returned to port.

“Today we honor those submariners who never returned to the surface, their final resting place is in the vast ocean they once patrolled,” said Retired Navy Captain Jill James.

Retired Navy Officer, Jill James now serves on the Sausalito City Council.

“Think about the ages of some of these kids on these boats, some 15, 16, 17. They lied about their ages to sign up and fight,” James said.

This Memorial Day tradition started after the war when 52 subs were lost along with 3,000 sailors. Each of the subs gets a special tribute with a tolling bell.

Just days ago, the Navy announced it had located the intact wreckage of the USS Harder, 80 years after its last patrol in the South China Sea. Veteran Christopher Walker calls discovery, amazing.

“It’s important to know the history of all the submarines, before and after World War Two,” said Walker.

Memorial Day, a time to honor and reflect.

“Those lives lost, it’s hard to even imagine that’s what we memorialize those lost servicemen not just sailors but all who protect our country,” said Walker.

Hundreds honor fallen heroes in South Bay Memorial Day ceremony

One of the oldest Memorial Day ceremonies in the Bay Area was held once again in San Jose. Hundreds came together at Oak Hill Memorial Park to remember the fallen heroes.

One of the oldest Memorial Day ceremonies in the Bay Area was held once again in San Jose.

Hundreds came together at Oak Hill Memorial Park to remember the fallen heroes.

“For many Americans this last Monday in May marks the unofficial start of summer, a long weekend with backyard barbecues,” said Keynote speaker Major Robert “Adam” Patterson. “But for those who served in our military, their loved ones are Gold Star families, and for those of you gathered here today, Memorial Day takes on a much greater significance.”

The dozens who came together sat alongside the graves of men and women who served in the U.S. military.

“Since World War I, I had family members in the military in war, every one of my family came home. So I need to be here for everybody else,” said Judith Ness from San Jose.

Wreaths representing the many wars that tragically took lives were displayed at the ceremony.

Though there were reminders of a time when conflict divided civilizations, the unity that’s developed since dark times like World War II was also represented.

“Reconciliation, forgiveness, because we both made mistakes 80 years ago,” said Hajime Kishimori, Deputy Consul General, at the Consulate of Japan in San Francisco. “But because of that we now enjoy this global partnership between the United States and Japan. So I’m so honored to be a part of this ceremony today.”

Patterson has served with the United States Marine Corps and CIA, he said giving the keynote speech was an honor, humbling and also challenging.

“I’ve rehearsed it so many times, because I broke down every time,” he said. “Some emotion would catch me as I remembered a particular event or a person, a shared experience, and I remembered their sacrifice.”

He said he encourages others to take some time and remember those who sacrificed everything. Not honoring them only on Memorial Day but throughout the year.

“If you can just take a minute, to not let their names escape your memory, to not let their names, not cross your lips to say their names to remember them to remember their sacrifice, even for just a minute,” Patterson said, “It’s right and proper for us to do as Americans as people who live in all that this country has to offer.”

Gold Star mom remembers son who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008

Dozens attended a Memorial Day ceremony at San Ramon Memorial Park to honor those who gave their lives in service to our country.

Dozens attended a Memorial Day ceremony at San Ramon Memorial Park to honor those who gave their lives in service to our country.

Gold Star mother Yolanda Vega performed the Star Spangled Banner and spoke about her son, Senior Airman Jonathan Vega Yelner, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2008.

“It’s not happy Memorial Day,” Vega said. “There’s nothing happy about this.”

Marshall Berman of San Ramon placed a flag in honor of a friend he served with, who passed away recently.

“He would love to be here,” said Berman, who is retired and served in the military, including in the Coast Guard. “He loved this kind of thing. Ron loved the military but he would actually feel really good to see the show of this… It’s not just Ron. It’s everybody else. It’s some of the bravest people in the world that you can imagine that have lost their lives. And that’s what the gathering is here today about.”

Anyone can go to San Ramon Memorial Park on Monday to place a flag in honor of a fallen service member, until 4 p.m.

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Gloria Rodríguez

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