New Bedford Fishermen’s Memorial Service Honors City’s Fallen Commercial Sailors
Usually held on the city's Pier 3, the annual Fishermen's Memorial Service was moved to the Whaling Museum Monday due to weather but still drew a crowd of a few hundred that paid respect to the local fishermen lost at sea.
The service, sponsored by the New Bedford Port Society, included hymns, prayers and the names of the over 300 New Bedford fishermen lost at sea since 1925.
A majority of the audience was made up of friends and family of the fallen, many wearing memorial t-shirts.
Rev. Paul Wheeler of Trinity Lutheran Church in Fairhaven delivered the memorial message, which offered a reminder that their loved ones were safely at home with the Lord.
"Even as we hear those names today, that we remember and we so dearly love and so dearly embrace, know this: all those people we have cared about all these years, they are at home with God now," Wheeler said.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell acknowledged the strength and sacrifice that is required by commercial fishermen, and the courage they exhibit each time they set sail.
"Weather in your face, real life-threatening danger and despite it all, come back home and provide for their families and then go back and do it again," Mitchell said. "And do it again notwithstanding the fact that so many don't come back."
Names of the fallen were read followed by a bell toll for each.
Following the memorial service was the 47th Annual Blessing of the Fleet, where local clergy pray over the fishermen and their vessels before setting off for the season and also praying for a bountiful harvest at sea.