as printed in the Sun Times 12/11/13
Remembering David Besuden as we celebrate Christmas
by Steve Stefanides
This past weekend the island saw a number of wonderful activities to celebrate the Christmas holiday season.
Santa’s Workshop at Mackle Park, the Christmas play “Three Men and a Boy,” done by the Island Theater Group, the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Gala and the Christmas Boat Parade were all great events of which all took advantage.
I have to turn my attention though to the Christmas Boat Parade, which featured a two boat entry from the Marco Bay Yacht Club. Their member and longtime participant in the annual Christmas Boat Parade, David Besuden, passed away in August. He was a wonderful gentleman, but more than that, a great patriot. Over the years, his entry always had a patriotic theme, never forgetting the sacrifice and contribution of veterans and their families.
He had anticipated being in this year’s event, but illness took him from us, but not before he had laid out his plans for a theme for this year’s parade. That theme would revolve around a remembrance of the losses suffered on Dec. 7, 1941 in the attack on Pearl Harbor, which resulted in our entrance into World War II. This year’s parade fell on that fateful day of Dec. 7 and he and his fellow Marco Bay Yacht Club members felt it an appropriate theme for their boats.
For those men and woman of that era the significance of this date would not be lost on them as long as they lived; such was the case for Dave.
When I visited with the members of the club as they scurried about preparing their boats for that Saturday evening’s event, they conveyed his wishes to me. I would recall in years past watching David sit in his chair at the Marco Yacht Club, directing the members and their activities, stringing lights under his careful direction from his spot on the dock.
Make no mistake about it, he was like an admiral directing his men in battle. He would call out orders and advise if something wasn’t placed just right. There would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he was in charge and knew what he wanted.
Although on the night of the event someone else might be piloting the Marco Mania boat owned by David, he was still the master of his domain, and the person at the helm was there because he trusted them.
I had the opportunity in 2002 to attend a conference in Hawaii sponsored by the FAA on security and safety of our airports. As part of my time there, I chose to visit the impressive USS Arizona Memorial, a permanent resting place for 1,177 U.S. sailors and marines who perished that fateful day.
I had arrived just after another one of the surviving shipmates of that attack had his cremated remains entombed with the shipmates he had lost on Dec. 7 in a private ceremony. Needless to say it was an extremely moving day, as the Arizona shed but another tear in the form of a droplet of oil that rose to the surface as it does so from time to time.
David can rest well knowing his friends and fellow mariners honored his request to pay their respects to those lost on Dec 7, 1941. It was an honor to know you, Dave, and may you rest in peace, knowing your friends will carry on your proud tradition.