My Cancer Blog

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Forty Years Ago Tonight

Whitefish Point, (Lake Superior) Michigan
*Posted at 7pm, November 10th* (to commemorate the time when she sank)


Edmund Fitzgerald

Edmund Fitzgerald, St. Mary's River, 1975. Photo by Bob Campbell
The legend of the Edmund Fitzgerald remains the most mysterious and controversial of all shipwreck tales heard around the Great Lakes. Her story is surpassed in books, film and media only by that of the Titanic. Canadian folksinger Gordon Lightfoot inspired popular interest in this vessel with his 1976 ballad, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan. Whitefish Point is the site of the Whitefish Point Light Station and Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) has conducted three underwater expeditions to the wreck, 1989, 1994, and 1995.
At the request of family members surviving her crew, Fitzgerald's 200 lb. bronze bell was recovered by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society on July 4, 1995. This expedition was conducted jointly with the National Geographic Society, Canadian Navy, Sony Corporation, and Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. The bell is now on display in the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum as a memorial to her lost crew.

Gordon Lightfoot - The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald Lyrics

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 crew 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 pm 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
They 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


This is an awesome tribute and also plays the song...
Watch video here!

The place in the photo is of Whitefish Point, my favorite place in the world, but also where the ship went down.
Although we've been experiencing warmer than normal weather, in a couple days we are expecting some weather similar to that November day forty years ago.

Hope you enjoyed a piece of Michigan history!

and always remember, we are...



Denise said...

wow, appreciate you sharing.

Jane said...

November is always the worst month for sailing. A ship from my home town, the Carl D. Bradley, went down in November also. My uncle, Elmer Fleming, was one of the only two survivors.

Never Forsaken said...

Hi Denise, glad you liked it. God bless

Never Forsaken said...

Wow, Jane that is so interesting!
I've always been fascinated with the ships of the Great Lakes...Its something I miss living up here...I grew up in Port Huron, and always been near the lake. We are over due for a visit...Its been a year!
My Grandmother was married to a ship's captain who was lost at sea...I don't remember the story very well though...I think his last name was Foster...they weren't married long when he died.

Never Forsaken said...

I looked up the info on that shipwreck...Did you know there's a book about it?

Brenda said...

What a beautiful tribute for a very sad occasion. I had never heard of this happening before. Thank you for sharing it Lisa, I love for people to be remembered with poetry.

Never Forsaken said...

I know that you are a songwriter yourself, so I understand how you must really appreciate the song Gordon Lightfoot wrote for this. He actually was there last night at Whitefish Point for the ceremony. I watched a little bit of it on TV last night...A young girl sand 'Amazing Grace' and it was beautiful!

Sharon said...

I am familiar with the tragic story of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I watched a very interesting, and very sad, documentary about it. It even had some underwater footage of the wreck. I can only imagine the grief of so many people when this happened. I think it's very thoughtful of you to remember when you look out at your beautiful view.

Somehow your last photo reminded me of the wreckage of the Cross, and how God brought peace and serenity and beauty out of it. I pray He does the same in the aftermath of our tragedies in life. I know He can and will if we let Him...


Never Forsaken said...

Hi Sharon,
I looked again at that last photo after reading what you wrote, and I was reminded of Jesus prediction about the temple having not one stone left standing.
Matthew 24:2
We know he has already done what you are praying for...when he promised that all things work for the good of those who are called...Amen!

Lon Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what ...