|East Hampton Town
Lost At Sea Memorial Pike
A while back the Edwards Family suffered the
tragic loss of Capt. Edwards. For a family that has a maritime heritage
as long and glorious as East Hampton Town itself, they are no strangers
in coping with loss of life in the pursuit of earning a living from the
rewards grudgingly given by the sea. Time and again, local families,
like the Edwards', have returned to the sea, even after tragedy, to carry
on a tradition born of sometimes near poverty and of a genetic character
we land lubbers can only wonder at.
What is it that will summon these men out
into the most dangerous of conditions at the most frightful times of year?
Yet every day these men of stubborn Bonac pride roll the dice and most
times come home with a feast for his family. Most times. A
ways back, Capt. Edwards didn't come home for dinner. On a
cold spring day, abeam a beach without much of a name to take such a good
man, amid sudden confused waves he was taken away in a nor'wester.
I wondered what has East Hampton Town
given as tribute to such men. Men who know of names like Grand Banks,
Atlantis Canyon and Promised Land; The Fingers and Butterfish Hole as we
might know of Lanes, Ways and Paths of our neighborhoods. What of
the families who have been left only time frozen photos of what could have
been? That lost smile or fuzzy chin. A salty joke or a firm hug.
Big warm hands. I thought it would be a fitting tribute if somehow
we could connect the families that have sacrificed so much to the sea as
fishermen and baymen from East Hampton with those who have sacrificed so
much to the sea in Sag Harbor as whalers. I know that there is an
effort underway in Montauk to commission a statue at the lighthouse dedicated
to those lost at sea but it is my understanding that this effort has been
stalled due to funding issues. It's a good cause and would be a nice
tribute should a potential benefactor be reading this.
So on the way home from work one day
I thought, "why not dedicate a road, like Route 114, to these men?"
It has the 2-town connection. So after bouncing the idea around about
a dozen other people I decided to give Assemblyman Fred Thiele's office
a call, since this is a State road. Mr. Thiele was very helpful and
after only a few days had the proposed bill drafted. The proposal,
which will be presented in January when the Assembly reconvenes, will rename
Route 114 Sag Harbor Turnpike to Route 114 Lost At Sea Memorial Pike, starting
at the 5-corners area and proceeding the the Southampton Town line.
Although it seems so small considering the
hardships, lost loves and lost lives so many East End maritime families
have endured, but something needs to be done as a fixed reminder
in tribute to these brave men who went down to the sea in ships, never
to return. Please call or write Assemblyman Thiele's office at 537-2583
to support this proposal. Those families, these men from our Town
deserve it, and more.
Barry W. Leach