In our paper that came out on Tuesday, Dec. 31, we ran our annual Year in Review feature, which detailed top articles and photos that made the news during 2019. As part of that look back, we ran a photo on the front page showing the wreck of the F/V Mary B II — three fishermen lost their lives in that tragedy. The loss of those lives had a big impact not only on our commercial fishing fleet, but on Lincoln County as a whole.
In our effort to provide readers with a recap of the 2019 news stories, we obviously didn’t take into consideration the impact that photo would have on the family and friends of the fishermen who died. And the fact the paper came out on the opening day of crab season only made it worse. We deeply regret the decision to publish that photo. Unfortunately in the newspaper business, once the paper goes to press, our mistakes are out there for all to see — there are no do-overs. But we do sincerely apologize to any and all who were offended by seeing that photo. We just didn’t think that one through.
We have always been big supporters of our commercial fishing fleet, and that feeling is shared by many others in our local communities who aren’t directly involved in the industry. We were in attendance on Tuesday morning during the Crab Blessing at Yaquina Bay State Park, where a large crowd of people gathered to offer prayers for the fishermen for a safe and successful crab season. People attending the ceremony were asked to raise their hands if they were family members of the fishermen, and as expected, quite a few people indicated they were. Then the friends of fishermen were asked to raise their hands, and a good number fell into that category. But what made an impression on us was how many people raised their hands saying they didn’t have any direct connection to the fishing community but just wanted to show their support.
There’s something special about a community where people rally around each other like that. We have seen it many times and have commented about it on this page every now and then. It’s also refreshing to witness people coming together in a show of positive support when so often these days we see crowds gathered to complain about what they don’t like. While we will always support the rights of people to gather and express their opinions on any subject, we do appreciate the positive energy we saw during the Crab Blessing on Tuesday.
We, too, echo those prayers and ask for safety for our crab fishermen as they are out on the ocean in some of the worst weather Mother Nature will throw at them. They are an important part of our community, and we appreciate what they do.