I don’t know about elsewhere in the universe, but here in Michigan when we turn the radio on in the coming days we can count on hearing Gordon Lightfoot’s ballad, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
Tuesday, November 10 marks the 34th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald with captain and crew—29 men—lost. The ore carrier went down in Lake Superior during a violent storm 17 miles off Whitefish Point in the Upper Peninsula. It’s a day marked with solemn services at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, and on the Detroit River at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle.
The memorial service at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point in the UP begins at 7 p.m., Tuesday, November 10, and will include the ringing of the bell recovered from the Fitzgerald and performances by Michigan musicians Carl Behrend and Dan Hall. Free.
The annual tribute to lost mariners at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit begins with a 6 p.m. lantern ceremony at the anchor from the Fitzgerald, followed by a program that includes music by Great Lakes balladeer Lee Murdock and laying of a memorial wreath in the Detroit River. This year’s ceremony recognizes the loss of the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 and its crew of 32, which went down in a Lake Erie storm on December 8, 1909. Admission charged.
(Click here to see my earlier post about the Dossin Museum.)
In addition, at 11 a.m., Sunday, November 8, Mariners’ Church in Detroit holds its annual Great Lakes Memorial Service honoring all lives lost on the inland seas. It was Fr. Richard W. Ingalls, Jr., Rector of the “House of Prayer for All People,” who rang the church bell 29 times the day after the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. His act is memorialized in Lightfoot’s words, “In a musty old hall in Detroit they prayed, in the Maritime Sailor’s Cathedral. The church bell chimed ’til it rang 29 times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald.”
Please check the comments below for another program and open house on Tuesday, November 10 in River Rouge, where the Edmund Fitzgerald was built. Very cool happenings. Thank you, readers for the info!