One by one, carefully placed along the sand, a total of 13 flags were planted near lifeguard tower 22 in Pacific Beach Friday.
Each representing the life of a U.S. service member who in support of our nation paid the ultimate sacrifice.
"It's heartbreaking," said Theresa Terry, a retired captain in the U.S. Army. "It's heartbreaking on so many levels.”
Terry organized the event.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
"Like many veterans that I have been reaching out and have been seeing on social media, I have been hurting a lot,” said Terry.
Jamie Vokaty, a Minnesota resident, who happened to be in town for her brother-in-law's Marine boot camp graduation was overwhelmed with emotion upon coming across it.
"I noticed this memorial going on and it's perplexing to run into this especially having come straight from that," said Vokaty.
Like most Americans, her entire family has spent the last few days glued to their television following the situation out of Afghanistan. Filled with concern and uncertainty over what the future could hold.
"I know that the days ahead are going to be incredibly hard," said Terry. "I would say check on your brothers and sisters in arms."
At the end of the vigil, organizers encouraged attendees to show support for those who have served and remain in services.