By Adam Madison
Triplicate staff writer
Crescent City veterans, local residents and Memorial Day travelers saw the SS Emidio Memorial right-side-up for the first time in 56 years on Monday at a re-dedication ceremony.
Guy Towers, president of the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society and Terry McNamara spearheaded the restoration project. Towers and McNamara were responsible for sand-blasting, repainting and helping set the memorial back on its legs.
Referring to the remodeling of the memorial, Towers those gathered at the ceremony, andquot;It was a labor of love.andquot;
Towers also gave the nitty-gritty on sand-blasting, joking about the andquot;strange odd places that sand can emerge from your body.andquot;
McNamara's front yard was the home of the Emidio for two-and-a-half months. McNamara said that after the work on the memorial was done, andquot;we didn't want to give it up.andquot;
Chris Howard, president of Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce, began the dedication with a speech about Del Norte residents as andquot;people coming together to complete projects.andquot;
Refering to the 42 100-pound bags of sand used for the sand-blasting, Howard jokingly said that there is a andquot;special beach area outside Terry's house.andquot; He also introduced special SS Emidio postcards, designed by Harvey Raider, that list the companies and organizations involved with the project.
Crescent City Mayor Dennis Burns read a speech thanking the veterans and the people who took part in the remodeling, telling the audience that andquot;most of all, remember that freedom is not free.andquot;
Veteran Larry Wallin spoke, reminding the attendees of the importance of Merchant Marines, and that they did not receive veteran status until 1987.
Bill O'Donnell, also a veteran, read a speech about the importance of remembering those who have died in the service and a story of a Merchant Marine who died protecting his ship.
Colleen Bruhy added to the ceremony by singing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and then christening the Emidio - breaking a bottle of champagne on its hull.
The Memorial, which was repainted andquot;The SS Emidio,andquot; was torpedoed and bullet-riddled 200 miles south of Crescent City during World War II. It ultimately came to rest on Steamboat rock. In 1951, it was declared a landmark, with a piece of its hull placed on the southwest corner of Front and H Streets.