Stories of love and loss filled Ala Moana Beach Park Monday evening for the annual Lantern Floating Ceremony.

On a day where we honor fallen service members, thousands also gathered to heal their hearts.

They walked into the ocean, thousands at a time, sending messages on lanterns to loved ones who have passed away.

“It just brings the whole community together and I think it’s a great thing to be a part of,” said Tyler Ota, who was sending out a lantern.

“Doesn’t really matter what religion you are, you come and just be grateful for the lives that were lived,” said Kevin Takayama, who was also sending out a lantern.

Each message on the lantern is different, as well as the story. Some people come to remember their children, friends, parents, anyone who they choose to remember.

“It’s so beautiful,” said Takayama. “My wife and I on Memorial Day we go to remember both her grandma and my grandma and one of my previous students.”

Whether a first time visitor to the event or for those who make it a tradition. With more than 42,000 people this year and 6,000 lanterns being released into the water, it is a sight to see.

“You are walking out there you see people hugging, smiling, see people crying and it’s a mixed bag of emotion, its just a beautiful thing to experience,” said Takayama.

For some it’s also special to share that moment remembering loved ones with the thousands of others right next to them.

“It’s nice to see as a community that everyone is getting together and that everyone has someone special in their life and it’s very touching moment,” said Chelsea Ota, who was sending out a lantern.

“I was fortunate enough to be out here with my best friend,” said Takayama.

The lantern floating ceremony has grown over the years from a small event at Ke’ehi Lagoon in 1999, to what you see today.