An important part of the Coast Guard Festival is the memorial service for the Cutter Escanaba and all those who have given their lives in the defense of this country. The Escanaba arrived in Grand Haven in 1932 and became part of the town for the next ten years. She was ordered to depart in 1942 for convoy duty in the North Atlantic. She served with distinction until 13 June, 1943, when she was sunk with the loss of 101 of the 103 crewmen onboard.
Grand Haven was shocked and saddened by the lost and began an annual tradition of a memorial service. One of the two survivors of the sinking, Ray O’Malley attended every service and was a key supporter of the tradition.
This year was a special service, since Ray O’Malley had passed away in March of this year, bringing all of the original crew back together.
On a lighter note, the festival had a craft fair today, where we purchased a special tool for cooking marshmallows, hot dogs etc. over a campfire.
Today was a beautiful day and it seemed everyone was out enjoying the waterfront activities. One of the stranger things to see was the marking of spots a day in advance to watch the fireworks display on Saturday. The town allows anyone to put out certain allowed markers after 0001 on Friday morning. It is the kind of place where it seemed that everyone honored this reservation system.