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Fleet of Flowers

The Fleet of Flowers, a tradition since 1945, will be held Monday (5/27/2024) on the docks of Depoe Bay. The program begins at 11 a.m. with a ceremony that includes some speakers and music. Afterward boats will transport citizens to drop handmade cedar and flower wreaths at sea. At the last Depoe Bay city council meeting Mayor Short asked for information to be provided to the city council, as she and a State Congresswoman were not asked to speak at the event. Mayor Short pointed out that the city has many things going on with refurbishing the docks and they work closely with congressional and state leaders to make things happen in Depoe Bay. The Mayor asked for an opportunity to speak regarding these events and asked that the Congresswoman, who also helped to make some of these needed improvements for Depoe Bay, be allowed to speak at the event.

Kathy Wyatt, one of the event coordinators, told the council this was a memorial event not a political event. She said the committee was contacted by the Congresswoman asking to speak at the event, however since it was late notice and the flyers had already been printed and the topic of her speach was not involving the memorial, she was told that she would be welcomed to attend but they would not be able to allow her to be be a speaker' . Wyatt said "The Fleet of Flowers' sole focus is honoring and remembering those who lost their lives at sea, providing the community with an esteemed event that pays tribute to them and their sacrifices. It is not a soapbox or a political outlet to spout political agendas or ideologies."

Councilor Fran Recht asked why in previous years were Terry Thompson, former county commissioner, and Representative David Gomberg allowed to be speakes. Wyatt explained that they spoke about Memorial Day and remembering those who have passed, it was not anything political. Many community members also spoke about how the event is a memorial to remember those lost, to offer blessings for the fleet, and the Coast Guard, who helps protect sea-goers. Wyatt also pointed out that the Coast Guard is not able to participate in political events. The Fleet of Flowers was started to honor the memories of two fishermen, Roy Bower and John Chambers, who died at sea in an attempt to aid another fisherman.  It has since evolved to honor all seafarers and those lost at sea.

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