MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – City leaders and police in Miami Beach honored those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for this country.
A 21-gun salute was held in their honor on Memorial Day at the police department and which brought some to tears.
There was also a wreath-laying ceremony and a prayer.
“Bless the thousands of families remembering their loved ones,” one person said in the loud speaker.
The city was once known for its help housing and training 500,000 people in the military during World War II.
Today, the area is known as a popular vacation destination.
“I’m enjoying it so far. I’m having a good time. I’m from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. So, it’s a new experience for me,” tourist Kenya Sansbery said.
Sansbery and her friends have been on South Beach since Friday.
They were able to watch another way the city paid tribute to the military by hosting the third annual Hyundai Air and Sea Show.
The show was appreciated but a surprise to many visitors.
“It was really loud. It scared my baby. It was nice though,” tourist Toya Jenkins said.
City leaders say they have seen more families than ever before and gave credit to the air and sea show for the difference.
Outside promoters traditionally called the holiday weekend “urban beach weekend”. But shootings and other violence created a dark cloud over the busy weekend.
“Anytime you have a large group of people who are going to congregate in one area, there’s always going to be a handful of folks who make poor choices,” Officer Ernesto Rodriguez said.
As of Monday morning, police said the number of people arrested was around 100. That’s about 15 fewer arrests than last year during the same time.
“We’ve actually recovered several firearms. But one in particular, there was a firearm by a juvenile who also had a mask,” Rodriguez said.
Families and visitors told us they’re thankful for the heavy police presence for keeping them safe. And one woman says she is already planning her next trip.
Families and visitors told us they’re thankful for the heavy police presence for keeping them safe.
And some are already planning their next trip.
“I want to come back. I enjoyed my experience down here. It was nice,” Teresa Montgomery said.
Police say you won’t see all 400 Miami Beach officers working Monday. But they will still have an uptick in the number of officers working throughout the night.
As for Ocean Drive, it will reopen early Tuesday morning.