A group of local volunteers is getting ready to once again honor people lost at sea.
The Lost at Sea Memorial is slated for 3 p.m. Monday, May 29, at the Cayucos Pier Plaza. The plaza and adjacent Cayucos Veterans Hall are fenced off during the reconstruction of the Vets Hall, and so the Lost at Sea ceremony will again take place in a construction zone.
The ceremony honors those lost at sea — Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marines — as well as commercial fishermen, divers, surfers, and pleasure boaters.
The ceremony honors these people whose bodies were never found, and so there is no grave or marker where loved ones can go to mourn them.
The ceremony also honors the Missing in Action from the Vietnam War and involves 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.
Attendees then have a procession down the 950-foot pier, and a wreath is cast into the sea to a rifle salute. It’s a touching and unique ceremony in the area amongst the many ceremonies held to mark Memorial Day.
As with the years that the Cayucos Pier was closed and being rebuilt, the Vets Hall is undergoing a rebuild now, and much of the Pier Plaza is behind the temporary construction fencing. The Lost at Sea Memorial Committee erected a granite obelisk next to the plaza where a ship’s bell would be mounted and rung during the Lost at Sea ceremony. But that obelisk was removed for safekeeping during the construction.
Another highlight of the ceremony is a flyover of military aircraft by the Estrella Warbirds Museum in Paso Robles. The flyover should happen about 4 p.m. during the procession down the pier but is dependent on weather conditions, mainly due to strong winds.
The Lost at Sea Memorial is free to attend. Seating is limited. For more information, visit rotarydistrict5240.org/stories/lost-at-sea-memorial-in-cayucos