In Remembrance of Those Lost at Sea

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

June 6, 2024

Trudy O’Brien and Caitlyn Sullivan carry the memorial wreath down the Cayucos Pier during the 22nd Annual ‘Lost at Sea’ Memorial Day ceremonies on May 27. The wreath was tossed into the sea to commemorate and remember all souls lost at sea, be they military merchant marine, recreational boater and commercial fishermen.

A somber ceremony marked the 22nd Annual Lost at Sea Memorial Day ceremony, held at the Cayucos Pier. The ceremony was emceed by Trudy O’Brien, who sits on the Lost at Sea Committee along with members of the Cayucos Lions Club, and retired military men and women. O’Brien represents the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization.

She opened the ceremonies acknowledging the deaths of some of the founders of the ceremony — Rex Smith, Tom Madsen and fisherman Dick Sylvester.

James Murphy, a retired Marine Colonel, gave the Invocation and Benediction; trumpeter Jerry Boots (USMC, Ret.), played the National Anthem and Taps, as well as the seven military anthems, including Space Force, which is the newest branch of the U.S. Military.

The Cuesta Concord Chorus, under the direction of Cassandra Tarantino, performed America the Beautiful; the local chapter of Sea Cadets marched in formation down the pier; and the USCG Station Morro Bay Color Guard led the procession. 

The Templeton American Legion Post 220 did a rifle salute, and the Estella Warbirds Museum flying team did a flyover and performed a Missing Man Formation to end the ceremonies.

It was another moving tribute to people who, be they military or civilians; pleasure boaters or commercial fishers and merchant seamen, because they have no graves where loved ones can go to mourn their loss. 

As Col. Murphy said during the POW/MIA ceremony, “We will remember them until the day they come home.”

James Murphy (left) and Donna Archer, both retired military officers, hold th memorial wreath of flowers, passing it amongst the crowd of about 300 to touch and remember a lost loved one, during the 22nd Lostat Sea Memorial Day ceremonies. Both Murphy and Archer sit on the Lost at Sea Committee.

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