Crowds turn out atop Mount Soledad, other spots for Memorial Day tributes

San Diegans today turned out to a number of Memorial Day events to honor members of the armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice

in the nation’s defense.

Among the events was the annual Mount Soledad Veterans Association ceremony in La Jolla, where a special presentation honored U.S. Army Col. Bob Howard. The Medal of Honor recipient is one of the most highly decorated soldiers from the Vietnam War who had eight Purple Hearts.

Elsewhere, hundreds went to the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, the final resting place for military veterans in Point Loma where about 66,000 American flags covered the grounds for the 110th annual ceremony.

Marine Corps veteran George Herring told News8 Americans need to be

reminded of why they are free -- and not just on holidays.

“We are the reason why they’re free,” Herring said. “Young men, old

men before us, are the reason why I’m free. We’re not totally free but we’re freer than anybody in the world.”

The Vietnam Veterans Association honored San Diego County residents who died in the conflict in Southeast Asia in a ceremony at Balboa Park, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars held an event in Lakeside.

The ceremonies took place under mostly sunny skies around the county,

but temperatures significantly lower than on Sunday kept the beaches from becoming overcrowded.

San Diego lifeguard Lt. Andy Lerum said the beach crowd was much smaller than past holidays, and there were no major rescues.

San Diego’s official high temperature at Lindbergh Field was 65 degrees,and inland temperatures were only in the low-70s, according to National Weather Service.