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Lives lost at sea honored in Cayucos on Memorial Day

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Posted at 10:33 PM, May 29, 2023

Fishermen and military service members gathered Monday afternoon for a Memorial Day ceremony in Cayucos.

Dozens gathered at the Cayucos Pier for the Lost at Sea Memorial which honors both members of the armed services as well as civilians who never made it home.

The grief of losing a loved one or a close friend is an experience shared by many who spend their lives at sea.

“I have lost a lot of fellow fishermen out to sea,” said Trudy O’Brien with the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Association. “It’s honoring those people who are lost. You sometimes don’t have the chance to bury because there’s not a body to bury.”

The ceremony started with a moment of silence followed by the national anthem.

Veterans from different branches of the military spoke and showed up in uniform to pay tribute and continue a decades-long career of serving others.

“Giving something back to other people doesn’t cost anything but a few minutes of my time and I’m blessed with the ability to communicate that to people,” said Jim Murphy, who served as a Major in the Marine Corps.

Murphy served in Korea and rose through the ranks of the Marine Corps.

“They promoted me as a second lieutenant as a temporary officer and I thought ‘Oh this is not bad. It’s better than going home and raising hogs.’ So, I stayed in the marine corps.”

“I come from a family that have all served,” said Donna Archer, an Air Force Major who served as a nurse during the Gulf War in the early 1990s.

“I was an adult and I thought ‘I’m gonna serve.’ I got into the reserves and the next thing I know; desert shield and desert storm were happening. I got called up for that,” she recalled.

Donna and Jim were chosen this year to carry the wreath to the end of the Cayucos Pier.

“I think touching, it has a meaning of putting some closure on things and that’s what we hope for,” said Archer. “This will provide some comfort and some peace as the wreath is then committed to the sea remembering all that are lost at sea.”

The duo walked the wreath to the end of the Cayucos Pier before releasing it into the ocean.

The Estrella Warbirds flew over to mark the special occasion.

“This is the most special day out of my life, and I would not be anywhere else on Memorial Day,” said O’Brien.

The Lost at Sea Memorial happens every year on Memorial Day at 3 p.m.