It’s been 32 years since the 13 fishermen were lost at sea on Sept. 23, 1986, and their families gathered over the weekend to commemorate, honor, and remember the group. For the first time, the commemoration was held at the Kristo Rai Parish in Garapan instead of the 13 Fishermen’s Memorial along Beach Road.
The 13 fishermen’s families, who still remember the day their loved ones went off to sea, honored their loved ones Sunday as the Carolinian Affairs Office held a Mass at the Kristo Rai Parish before heading to the monument to offer their respects in the form of flowers, candles, and prayers.
The family members of Guillermo Saures, which consisted of Bryan Saures Kaipat and his aunt, the sister of Saures, said their family still remembers him annually.
Kaipat, who was not able to meet his uncle, said that if he were to say anything to his uncle, it would be, “Please watch over us.”
Angie Teregeyo, who is the niece of Benusto Lisua, said she only remembers her uncle through stories.
“I really don’t remember him growing up, but hearing stories about him from my mom and other relatives makes me wish I knew him that well,” she said.
“[This ceremony] is really special. Having all the families attending the ceremony together is a wonderful thing,” Teregeyo said. She added that the ceremony made her emotional.
Florence Selepeo Kirby, who organized the commemoration, noted that they first thought of stopping the memorial starting on the 30th year of the incident and turn it into a more upbeat occasion.
“No more memorial. We are going to have a celebration; we need to let their spirit go so even we can start feeling happy,” she said, also fighting back tears. Kirby is sibling to one of the 13 fishermen, Sylvestre Selepeo. “It’s been a long time. We should move forward,” she added.
The 2018 commemoration had traditional dances and a lunch buffet.