2008 Reunion in Hyannis, Massachusetts
Memorial to lightship sailors is cleaned and painted!
By Curt Brown 2008
Standard-Times staff writer
NEW BEDFORD Five members of the U.S. Coast Guard Lightship Sailors Association on Monday cleaned and painted the Vineyard Sound Lightship bell, which stands as a memorial to lightship sailors who bravely served aboard those floating lighthouses.
The Lightship Sailors Association, which is holding its 10th annual reunion this week in Hyannis, has an agreement with the New Bedford Harbor Commission to maintain the memorial on the city's waterfront at Coast Guard Park.
The five lightship sailors, who hail from across the U.S., chipped off the old paint, used wire brushes to get rid of the rust and primed and applied a fresh coat of paint to the memorial. They arrived a few days before the start of their reunion to do the maintenance. "It needed it, desperately," said Larry Ryan of Colorado Springs, Colo., president of the Lightship Sailors Association.
Later, he said, the stone work will be cleaned and the names of the sailors lost in the line of duty will be re-lettered. "We're trying to head off further deterioration and pay our respects for those who were lost," he said.
He said the monument had been neglected. "We all felt an obligation to our lost lightship sailors to take care of this," he said.
"This is what we do to remember our comrades," said Bob Gubitosi of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, the second vice president of the Lightship Sailors Association. Mr. Ryan said they plan to do the maintenance every two years.
Between 1820 and 1983, when the Coast Guard decommissioned the last U.S. lightship, they served as navigational aides. They broadcast a radio signal and were equipped with lights and fog-horn signals.
The Vineyard Sound Lightship bell was recovered by divers in 1963 from the Vineyard Sound Lightship, after resting on the bottom following the ship's sinking in the 1944 Hurricane.
Originally intended to honor the lost sailors from the Vineyard, it later became a memorial to all lightship sailors who served from 1820 to 1983.
The Lightship Sailors Association will dedicate its Lightship Sailors Museum in Barnstable on Saturday as part of its reunion.
"Except for this memorial (in New Bedford) and the museum we're opening, there is no official recognition for what we did," Mr. Ryan said.
To see the Vinyard Memorial Bell
The New Board of Directors...
Front L-R Bob Gubitosi, 1st VP, Pete Marx, Director, Adrian Van Houten, Chaplain, Larry Ryan, President, Fred Pelger, Tresurer
Back, L-R, Rick Gryder, WebMaster, Rick Dasch, Director, Bernie Brynes, Veterans Affairs,
Skip Coleman, 1st VP, Dennis Cosmo, Arts & Graphics, Dave Orszak, Secretary & Membership Director
All the submitted Pictures from the 2008 Reunion
2008 Vinyard Memorial Bell
A dedication article from the The American Lighthouse Foundation Web Site
Dedication Ceremony Remarks by: Bob Trapani, Jr., Executive Director, ALF
Lightship Service tradition preserved: By Francis I. Broadhurst, Cape Cod Times
Historic news from Chatham (44301) after the reunion! Ron Janard, LSA Historian
To the Reunion Page To the Site Menu
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