During many memorial services, the loved ones are remembered; such is the moving and humble "Fleet of Flowers" on the Oregon coast. In the small coastal town of Depoe Bay, each Memorial Day, the people departed and most dear are honored with a reverent ceremony. The yearly program is open to the public expecting visitors to consider the solemness of the ocassion for family members attending.
Flags of each of the service branches are displayed along with Old Glory, while a band plays "The Star Spangled Banner" loud enough for all to hear. Followed by the pledge of allegiance, much is shared with anyone attending this solemn event at the shortest harbor in the world, Depoe Bay.
Each branch of the armed services has a short presentation about the freedoms of this country connected with the Navy, Army, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force that is delivered to locals and visitors. Messages are easily heard over a loud speaker as family members with children congregate on the Depoe Bay Bridge as well as pathways around the bay/ocean inlet.
While important poems and selected reading material is presented in memory of those who are no longer on this earth, the only sounds that are present are the waves gently coming onto the rocks from the west Pacific Ocean.
Celebrating the life of those no longer at our side, could be a fisherman and crew unable to return home due to the sea's fury. This memorial service is not only for those who lost their lives at sea, but for anyone who is resting in Heaven and still in the hearts of the people left on earth. All are honored; returned for burial, cremation or still remaining somewhere, but not known to family members.
It is at this silent gathering that friends, family and strangers honor the departed every Memorial Day at the mighty Pacific Oceanside town on Highway #101 in the west. The town merchants of Depoe Bay welcome and prepare for this event making it a very emotional and revered celebration at the end of May.
Captains of vessels board their ships with assortment of flowers offered in celebrating the lives of those no longer living. Slowly the boats leave the harbor in a wakeless manner to dispurse the blooms. About 1/4 to 1/2 mile out to sea, the boats create a circle holding their places as prayers are offered. Within the sphere, the members onboard, toss the flowers into the Pacific Ocean while the people on shore recall their loved ones being remembered in this ceremony. Just as gently, the boats return to the harbor in culmination of the memorial service known as "The Fleet of Flowers" in Depoe Bay, Oregon.