With Memorial Day coming up soon, a group of local volunteers is getting ready to once again honor those lost at sea, and once again their ceremony will be in a construction zone.
The Lost at Sea Memorial is slated for 3 p.m. Monday, May 29 at the Cayucos Pier Plaza. The ceremony honors anyone lost at sea but in particular military service members — Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and others — as well as commercial fishermen, divers, surfers, and pleasure boaters. The idea is that these peoples’ bodies were never found thus there is no grave or marker where families can go to mourn them.
The ceremony also pays homage to the Missing in Action from the Vietnam War and normally takes up the entire pier plaza with readings, prayers and song. A Coast Guard Color Guard and members of the Sea Cadets man the various service flags used in the ceremony. A Choir from Cuesta College performs, veteran musicians play Taps and service anthems, and a bagpiper and drummer perform Amazing Grace.
The ceremony is followed by a procession down the 950-foot pier where a wreath is cast into the sea and a rifle salute. It’s all a very touching ceremony and unique in the area amongst the many ceremonies held to mark Memorial Day.
As during the two years when the Cayucos Pier was being rebuilt, the Cayucos Vet’s Hall is currently undergoing a rebuild as well and much of the Pier Plaza is behind the temporary construction fencing blocking a key part of the ceremony. The Lost at Sea Memorial Committee, which works with the Rotary Club to put the event on, has erected a granite obelisk next to the plaza where a ship’s bell is mounted and rung during the ceremony.
The procession down the pier is highlighted by a flyover of military aircraft by the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles with the Missing Man Formation. The flyover should happen about 4 p.m. but is dependent on weather conditions, mainly due to strong winds.
The Lost at Sea Memorial is free to attend. Seating is limited. See: rotarydistrict5240.org/stories/lost-at-sea-memorial-in-cayucos for more information.