Tuesday, November 8, 2011
In Memoriam: The Edmund Fitzgerald
I wanted to take a break from talking about writing today to pay my respects to the crew and families of the Edmund Fitzgerald, an ore freighter that sank in Lake Superior during a storm on November 10, 1975. All 29 hands were lost.
Although from Wisconsin, I never knew anyone on the Fitz, never saw Lake Superior. Nevertheless, this tragic event has left an impression on me. I can't imagine how horrifying it must have been. From my reading of the account, even if they had launched the lifeboats, it probably wouldn't have done any good. The ship was swamped with 25-foot waves and hurricane-like winds. Storms on Lake Superior can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable. November storms can be especially devastating.
There's a line in Gordon Lightfoot's song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald": "The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead..." The bodies were never recovered and I believe the location is now considered a grave site. No diving is allowed.
Rest in peace.