My last few months of U.S. Navy flight training were spent in Brunswick, Georgia. It was easy to fall in love with the Golden Isles area – as well as the entire coast of Georgia, and South & North Carolina. The beautiful beaches, salt marshes, daily afternoon thunderstorms, warm Atlantic waters, and abundance of wildlife were a constant feast for the senses for someone from the high desert of Nevada. And of course the seafood – the wonderful seafood.

Everything has a price, however. The seafood that we all enjoy is the product of hard and dangerous work performed by brave and dedicated professionals. In the beautiful town of Murrells Inlet, South Carolina is a lost at sea memorial first envisioned as a tribute to one of those brave souls. Johnny W. Brown was a commercial fisherman sailing out of Murrells Inlet. On April 2, 2005 Johnny’s vessel was hit by a large rouge wave. His shipmates were rescued, but Johnny was lost to the Atlantic.

Johnny Brown died at the young age of 38, but there can be no doubt as to the love and respect he had to have earned in his short life. Family and friends arranged to have a memorial built to Johnny – and to others from the coastal areas of South Carolina lost at sea from whatever cause. On the first anniversary of Johnny’s loss a monument was unveiled in Morse Park Landing in Murrells Inlet. The monument consists of three black granite sides. On the side facing the jetties of Murrells Inlet is a life sized etching of Johnny. The other two sides are reserved for additional names of those lost at sea. When unveiled the monument contained 17 additional names. More have been added since – and will continue to be added, if required, annually.

This perhaps, is the purest type of lost at sea monument – a simple and beautiful memorial dedicated by family and friends to the eternal memory of loved ones gone, but most certainly not forgotten.

When I first looked at a photograph of the original 17 names added for the unveiling I was struck to see my own name on the panel. I was fascinated to read the story of theĀ Dan Jenkins honored on the panel at the memorial web site. He was born in 1914 and lost at sea on the shrimp boat ‘Lottie C’ in October 1957. Perhaps he is a distant relative. Perhaps we simply share a name. Either way, I won’t forget where his name and memory reside.

Please visit the website for the Lost at Sea Memorial at http://www.lostatseamemorial.com/. There you can read the history of the monument, learn about all the people remembered on the panels, and obtain an application to add a name to the panels.

And please visit the fascinating YouTube video that details the construction of the monument at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KOUwEhLdqg. The dedication of everyone is apparent and the beauty of the memorial site and surrounding area very evident. It’s a beautiful video about a beautiful memorial.