Memorial honored lives lost


By Thea Skinner

Triplicate staff writer

Military and U.S. Naval Sea Cadets remembered the lives lost in the Brother Jonathan wreck and Coast Guardsman Nathan B. Bruckenthal during the Lost at Sea ceremony Sunday at Crescent City Harbor.

Bruckenthal, of New York, lost his life in Iraq due to a suicide boat bomber.

andquot;It has been just three years - April 24 - since he gave all,andquot; said Tedi Espitia, instructor for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Nathan B. Bruckenthal division.

The Naval Sea Cadets keep in contact with Bruckenthal's father, who lives in New York, and plan to send him a video of the ceremony.

During the ceremony, the Naval Sea Cadets and Coast Guard provided a song, poem, psalm or letter for each person remembered.

The poem andquot;Freedom is not Free,andquot; by Kelly Strong, was recited. Strong is an active duty Coast Guard pilot serving at the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Training Center in Mobile, Ala.

The poem is a tribute to his father, a career marine who served two tours in Vietnam.

andquot;Amazing Graceandquot; was sung. Cadets walked flowers from the memorial to the 851 Coast Guard Auxiliary and the shipman dispersed them at sea.

The California Department of Corrections gave a rifle solute and a military memorial service song was performed on the saxophone.

Also remembered were the crew and passengers of the Brother Jonathan, whose sinking marked the greatest loss of life on the West Coast in a maritime disaster.

andquot;The Brother Jonathan wreck was the first wreck on the specific West Coast,andquot; Espitia said.

The shipwreck occurred July 26, 1865, with 244 passengers and crew aboard. Captain D. Wolf lead the crew.

Bound for Portland from Crescent City, a storm began to brew so DeWolf ordered the ship back to port. But the Brother Jonathan struck an uncharted reef off the coast of Northern California.

Six lifeboats were launched, but many were crushed by the waves. Only one reached the Crescent City shoreline. It carried 19 passengers and crew.

Reach Thea Skinner at

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Friday October 21, 2016

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