PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — Thousands flocked to Pensacola Beach Monday to enjoy the blue skies with their families as the Memorial Day weekend came to a close.

But while locals and tourists soaked up the sun, many at Pensacola Beach said they aren’t losing sight of why they had a three-day weekend.

“Absolutely comes down to freedom,” said Connor Burgess, who was visiting Pensacola Beach for the first time. “I mean, you’re looking at thousands of people out here on the beach, and we couldn’t be here without people who lost their lives and fought for us.”

On Monday, Burgess was throwing a football on the beach with his friend Adam Hoffer. They were both visiting from out of town as the “unofficial start to summer” begins.

“We’ve never been here, but it’s been a blast so far,” said Hoffer. “There are of things to do, great food and the beaches and water have been perfect. There are tons of reasons to complain every day, but today is just a day to sit back and be grateful for what you have.”

Eric Madderra and his son Mason were visiting Pensacola Beach Monday from Prattville, Ala.

“We came down from Alabama to spend time with my family today at the beach and just here for the Memorial Day weekend,” said Eric Madderra. “It’s a day to remember the ones who have fought and lost their lives.”

Mason Madderra had spent his day riding boogie boards and finding seashells. Still, he said Memorial Day means a lot to him.

“It’s important to me because the people who fought for our country are the reason we’re out here having fun today,” said Mason Madderra.

As the beaches get busier, lifeguards are urging residents and tourists to pay attention to flag conditions so everyone can stay safe.