At 4:30 p.m. family, some visiting all the way from Japan, and friends of Hana Abe gathered in her honor.
EXCLUSIVE: Mother of San Francisco NYE hit-and-run victim arrives at SFO from Japan ahead of vigil
Abe's mother, Hiroko Abe, who is in San Francisco from Japan for the ceremony, spoke exclusively to ABC7 News reporter Dion Lim just days before.
She spoke of the "turmoil in her heart," and how she hopes what happened to her daughter prompts change in the city of San Francisco.
Mrs. Abe also spoke at today's memorial, along with a Buddhist priest.
"I apologize for not being able to protect her as mother," Mrs. Abe said, as family and close friends stood by a row of flower bouquets placed where Hana was killed.
WATCH: Mother of victim in deadly NYE hit-and-run in SF speaks exclusively to ABC7 News
While fighting back tears, Mrs. Abe continued, "I really want to, truly want to see Hanako again."
She spoke of her daughter's kindness and how she made those around her happy.
"She had a special, caring heart," Mrs. Abe said, and wanted her to continue to shine.
Mrs. Abe said her daughter came to San Francisco for college to deepen her understanding for people of all backgrounds, in a city where "people recognize each other."
After the service, Mrs. Abe spoke again to Dion Lim.
She told her she had met with San Francisco Mayor London Breed, telling her she hopes to be happy the next time she comes to San Francisco.
Mrs. Abe is flying back to Japan Saturday.