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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail

June 3, 2008

Lost Fishermen Immortalized In Bronze

No matter what becomes of the harbor and the city's struggling fleet over the next few decades, Gloucester's identity will be forever tied to its fishing heritage.

And part of history's hold on the port lies in the long list of more than 5,000 fishermen who were lost at sea.

Not only is it an enormous sacrifice, it is a loss that touches almost everyone with any connection to Gloucester.

This summer, the city will finally have a memorial that has been talked about for years -- a permanent list of all Gloucester fishermen lost at sea that many believe will complete the Man at the Wheel.

The list will be cast in bronze and erected on a semicircle of 10 granite blocks in front of the Fishermen's statue on Stacy Boulevard.

"The memorial will be closure for a lot of people," said Gaspar Lafata, who is heading up the committee that designed the project and is raising the money to erect it. "We are letting the rest of the world know who we are. It's another reason for the city to be proud."

Graphic designer Philip Cusumano, who has been working closely with Lafata, agreed that the new memorial will bring a more human element to Gloucester's universal statue to fishermen.

"It fulfills the idea that these souls whose lives are gone be honored," Cusumano said.

The memorial committee admits a list of all those lost at sea is not a new idea. For years, different people have floated different ideas, including a line of names on the sidewalk and a wall of names engraved by The Tavern Restaurant.

But none of those projects ever gained momentum. This time around, the memorial has a wider net of support, including the backing of city officials.

The project began last year when Lafata and Cusumano sketched out the design for a wall of names much like the Vietnam War Memorial. The idea was to include the name of every fisherman lost at sea from 1623 to today.

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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail