For Iraq War veteran Michael Vo, Memorial Day weekend is not a holiday to relax. It's a time to get to work.
"We feel like this needs to be done, especially for my generation," he said. "To keep it going, so this is the thing we do."
He and thousands of others came to Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno to place flags at soldiers' graves.
"Thank you for what you are about to do," said Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.
He applauded the volunteers who return each year for this more than 50-year-old tradition.
After a brief ceremony reflecting on veterans who've given the ultimate sacrifice since the Civil War and Decoration Day, small armies of people took over the cemetery known as "Arlington West," and placed flags at all 113,000 graves.
"It moves me, and I think it moves everyone who comes up here, because Memorial Day is more than a three-day weekend," said Representative Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo. "It is a time for us to remember every single man and woman who has lost their lives, trying to keep us free."
3,500 Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts helped, saying it is their honor to be part of this day to honor our fallen heroes.
"This is, this is what I can do," Boy Scout Kyle Higginbotham said. "This is what I should do and what I will do, when I can."
"Just doing this is, it's not like it's enough, but it's a way of saying thank you," Boy Scout Kyle Zierman said.