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Remembering on land, sea

Patrick White, right, and his fellow rainsoaked Sea Cadets watch as flowers are taken out to sea during a harbor ceremony.
Patrick White, right, and his fellow rainsoaked Sea Cadets watch as flowers are taken out to sea during a harbor ceremony. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Americans lost in wartime and maritime tragedies were honored Monday at two Crescent City events.

Rain forced a contingent of about 120 veterans and their relatives and friends to relocate their morning service from the cemetery to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall on H Street.

“This is the first time we’ve done one inside since 1980,” said VFW Commander Jerry Johnson, of the local post that consists of 89 members. “It worked out really well.”

Memorial Day is about remembering “the people who didn’t get to enjoy life. I have a lot of friends that didn’t make it,” said Johnson, who was part of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade stationed mainly in Cuba.

Pastor Ed Fleshman delivered a prayer, Scott Rogers recited the 1915 war poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae and Bob Cochran sang “Proud to be an American” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Fred Cox lit what organizers called an “eternal flame.”

While Memorial Day remembers those who have fallen, each Wednesday at 6 p.m. the VFW holds a free group counseling session for veterans and their families, said Johnson.

The colors are presented during a morning ceremony that was moved from the cemetery to the Veterans Hall.
The colors are presented during a morning ceremony that was moved from the cemetery to the Veterans Hall. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
In an afternoon Fishermen’s Wives ceremony at Crescent City Harbor, Cochran was singing once again for the crowd of about 100 huddled in the Seafarer’s Hall keeping warm from the rain.

Each time co-coordinator Linda Tvetan read a name of one of the 56 people lost at sea since 1946, a bell was struck. Of those listed, 32 bodies were never recovered.

The Sea Cadets transferred flowers that people had left at an outside memorial to U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel, who took them out to sea to commemorate those lost.

Tvetan lost her brother Pete Fitzhugh to the sea in June 1972. Fitzhugh had been fishing with another local, Rodney Tomasini.  

Part of Fitzhugh’s remains were recovered, but Tomasini was never found, Tvetan said.

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