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Linda Greenlaw welcomed back to Gloucester…

…addresses annual fishermen’s memorial service

 

GLOUCESTER, MA – Capt. Linda Greenlaw, the celebrated fisherman and author – and a valued friend of this city by the sea – delivered the keynote address during Gloucester’s 20th Annual Fishermen’s Memorial Service.

Greenlaw handed out orange and red carnations, which Gloucester fishing families ceremoniously tossed into Gloucester Harbor. (Susan Pollack photo)

Greenlaw handed out orange and red carnations, which Gloucester fishing families ceremoniously tossed into Gloucester Harbor. (Susan Pollack photo)

Several hundred fishing families and friends gathered on a late August afternoon at Gloucester’s historic Man at the Wheel statue overlooking Gloucester Harbor, the site ringed by bronze plaques listing the names of the more than 5,000 Gloucestermen lost at sea.

The families came together, as they do every year, to honor and remember husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, and nephews who went fishing, but did not return.

And they came to listen to the words of Greenlaw, who knows, as they do, the joys and sorrows of the fishing life, and the bounty and cruelty of the ocean.

She skippered the Gloucester-based offshore swordfishing vessel Hannah Bowden of “Perfect Storm” fame, making 30-day trips to the Grand Banks, off Newfoundland.

Today she lobster fishes out of her native Isle au Haut in Maine.

Greenlaw said she was moved by the invitation to speak at the Gloucester service, but she confessed to the “difficulty of articulating what’s in my heart and gut.”

While hauling traps a day earlier, she had searched for words she could share but to little avail, she suggested, sounding a theme that would that would course through her short, heartfelt talk.

What she knew best, Greenlaw said, was “Rolling up your sleeves, putting your head down” and going forth “in the workaday world of commercial fishing.”

From an early age, she learned to row and sought to catch anything that swam.

When other kids “got ten-speed bikes, I got my first 10-horsepower motor.”

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