The Edmund Fitzgerald sank November 10, 1975 taking the lives of all 29 crew members on board. It's hard to believe that 35 years have passed since this tragedy and I'm sure it's even hard for the friends and family of the 29 men who died. Here is a roundup of Edmund Fitzgerald posts I have made over the years -
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On November 10, 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank to the bottom of Lake Superior taking the lives of all 29 crewmen. One week from today, the 34th service honoring the crew will be held at River Rouge. From SSEdmundFitzgerald.com:
. A memorial service for the men lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald will be held on November 10 at Dr. Henri Belanger Park in River Rouge, Mi. The service will be held near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse beginning at 6:00 p.m. The tug boat will be on hand to take out a wreath to be placed on the river. The service will feature a plaque presentation, bell ringing, lantern lighting, and refreshments will be served. For more information call Roscoe Clark at 810-519-2148 or Dolores Swekel 313-842-7822.
The service will be at River Rouge Michigan on the Detroit River next to where the ship was built at the slips and on the other side is where Zug Island is located.
The service will also be broadcast online via a free stream at SSEdmundFitzgerald.com. You can find all the details at their site.
The daughter of the "Old Cook" from the Gordon Lightfoot song left this comment on my tribute page for the Edmund Fitzgerald:
I am honored and excited to be invited to attend the upcoming service held this November 10th in River Rouge. I will be coming from Kansas to honor my dad and the other 28 crewmen. My father was the " Old Cook" referred to in the Gordon Lightfoot song.
There will be so many events having to do with the FITZ I hope to be able to fit it all in. I think it's great to include the school kids learning about the Great Lakes and the ships that have sailed on them.
I grew up in Toledo, Ohio and watched from many ports my dads ship sail off with a load of iron ore or coal. Those good memories never go away. Hope to see you there. All are welcome to honor and remember that fateful night.
Pam Johnson Daughter of ROBERT C. RAFFERTY
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they called 'Gitche Gumee' The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead When the skies of November turn gloomy With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more Than the Edmund Fitzgerald weighed empty. That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed When the gales of November came early.
The ship was the pride of the American side Coming back from some mill in Wisconsin As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most With a crew and good captain well seasoned Concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms When they left fully loaded for Cleveland And later that night when the ship's bell rang Could it be the north wind they'd been feelin'?
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound And a wave broke over the railing And every man knew, as the captain did too, T'was the witch of November come stealin'. The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait When the Gales of November came slashin'. When afternoon came it was freezin' rain In the face of a hurricane west wind.
When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck sayin'. Fellas, it's too rough to feed ya. At Seven P.M. a main hatchway caved in, he said Fellas, it's been good t'know ya The captain wired in he had water comin' in And the good ship and crew was in peril. And later that night when his lights went outta sight Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Does any one know where the love of God goes When the waves turn the minutes to hours? The searches all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her. They might have split up or they might have capsized; May have broke deep and took water. And all that remains is the faces and the names Of the wives and the sons and the daughters.
Lake Huron rolls, Superior sings In the rooms of her ice-water mansion. Old Michigan steams like a young man's dreams; The islands and bays are for sportsmen. And farther below Lake Ontario Takes in what Lake Erie can send her, And the iron boats go as the mariners all know With the Gales of November remembered.
In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed, In the Maritime Sailors' Cathedral. The church bell chimed till it rang twenty-nine times For each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald. The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down Of the big lake they call 'Gitche Gumee'. Superior, they said, never gives up her dead When the gales of November come early!
"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" appears on the album, Summertime Dream, by Gordon Lightfoot.
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on downOf the big lake they call Gitche Gumee The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead When the skies of November turn gloomy. -Gordon Lightfoot
The storm that raged against the Edmund Fitzgerald produced hurricane force winds howling more than 69 miles per hour and waves towering over 25 feet. Fitzgerald was also loaded down with 26,116 tons of taconite pellets. That is enough iron to create roughly 7,500 automobiles (stat courtesy of href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&tag=giftbasketsfr-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&path=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fgp%2Fproduct%2F0932212883%2Fsr%3D8-1%2Fqid%3D1148055364%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3F%255Fencoding%3DUTF8">"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Frederick Stonehouse). The storm she was traveling in was one so bad that the forecast technology used at the time had sorely underrated its power.
Whether it was failed hatch closures as the Coast Guard concluded in its investigation or a poorly chartered shoal that ripped into the ship's hull one thing remains true. The storm that was raging on November 9-10, 1975 was one of the worst storms ever recorded on any of the great lakes. Even the captain of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Ernest M. McSorley, remarked that it [the storm] was "one of the worst seas he had ever been in."
A new report issued this month by the NOAA found that the Edmund Fitzgerald was caught up in the worst of the storm conditions in one of the worst areas on Lake Superior. Through the use of what NOAA terms "hindcasts" (forecasts in retrospect) they noted that the Fitz met her fate during a six-hour window of the storm's ultimate fury. The Edmund Fitzgerald was also heading south when the waves were just battering her from west to east.
The wave action can be backed up in Capt. McSorley's remark to the Arthur Anderson's Captain, Jesse Cooper, that his vessel was "rolling some." Heading south would create a rolling effect from the waves running from right to left against (and over) the ship. The storm might not have been the ultimate cause of the Edmund Fitzgerald's sinking, but it must be considered a major player at a minimum.
Visit the NOAA website for details of the report.
Additional information on the Edmund Fitzgerald available online: Wikipedia - Edmund Fitzgerald S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Online NOAA's Marquette, MI Office From Amazon.com you can also purchase - Mighty Fitz : The Story of the Edmund Fitzgerald "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" - this was the source of some of the additional information for this articleRead More