Bay Area commemorates Memorial Day with return of in-person ceremonies

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For many people, Memorial Day is not about barbecues or discount sales, but rather, a day to remember and honor those who gave their lives in service of their country.

"It seems like America's forgotten," said veteran Jim Aldea-Cruz as he stood on the USS Hornet for a wreath-casting ceremony. "We're celebrating when all these soldiers, sailors, airmen sacrificed their lives for our country. They believed in our country."

With hundreds of people in attendance -- many of them veterans themselves -- the USS Hornet served as a backdrop for one of many Memorial Day remembrances happening around the Bay Area.

After a ceremony inside the ship, at the stern, the playing of "Taps" accompanied the ceremonial casting of the wreath into the bay.

In San Francisco, a similar scene played out at the Presidio, where an interfaith service was held to honor those lost in war.

RELATED: Memorial Day service held at Mare Island Naval Cemetery to honor fallen service members

"There will be families who have sons, brothers, husbands, wives who are gone, and so it's a time to remember," said Richard Harris, with the Presidio Interfaith Center.

This year's Memorial Day ceremony on the Hornet took on added significance, given the year that just past.

"I'm very encourage to see us get into the post-COVID part of this year," said U.S. Air Force veteran Jon Haber. "It's been a very tough year. But this is a special day and people recognize that in this area."

"It is very important," said Aldea-Cruz. "We've got to remember our roots. We've got to remember what America stands for."

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.