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Bell Tolls Anew for Mariners Lost in Edmund Fitzgerald Wreck
Canadian Press via AP ^ | November 10, 2005 | Staff Writer

Posted on 11/10/2005 2:50:56 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin

WHITEFISH POINT, Mich. (AP) - Relatives of the 29 mariners lost with the Edmund Fitzgerald were honouring their memory Thursday, 30 years after the ore carrier sank in a vicious Lake Superior storm.

Hundreds of people were expected to gather Thursday evening for a memorial service at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, the nearest spot on land to the Fitzgerald gravesite 27 kilometres northwest.

Members of the crewmen's families and survivors of other shipwrecks were among those invited to ring the Fitzgerald bell during the ceremony. The bell was recovered by divers in 1995 and is on display at the museum.

The service was among many 30th-anniversary observances taking place in the Great Lakes region, where the Fitzgerald is the most famous of more than 6,000 known shipwrecks.

"The legend still seems to be growing," said Tom Farnquist, executive director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, which operates the museum. "I'm surprised the Fitzgerald is still as popular as it is."

The Fitzgerald, a 222-metre freighter, was caught in a catastrophic gale Nov. 10, 1975, after taking on a load of taconite iron ore at Superior, Wis. Gusts exceeding 145 kilometres an hour kicked up nine-metre waves as the ship struggled toward the safety of Whitefish Bay, in the lake's southeastern corner.

Ernest McSorley, the ship's captain, radioed a trailing freighter, the Arthur M. Anderson, that the Fitzgerald had topside damage and was listing.

At 7:10 p.m., he told the Anderson's first mate, "We are holding our own."

It was the last anyone heard from the Fitzgerald.

The ship plunged to the bottom, 162 metres down. Diving expeditions later determined the freighter had broken into two large sections, its cargo strewn along the lake floor. No bodies have been recovered.

The cause of the sinking is still debated.

The official coast guard report said improperly fastened hatch covers may have enabled water to flood the cargo hold, weighing down the ship and eventually causing it to nosedive into a huge wave.

Others speculate that the Fitzgerald ventured too close to the Caribou Island shoal and scraped the bottom. Another theory: The ship broke apart on the surface.

The uncertainty is one reason for the story's lingering appeal, Farnquist said. Another is the Gordon Lightfoot ballad, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which made the tragedy a pop culture icon.

"There were modern aids to navigation, good weather forecasting . . . and yet a 729-foot ship disappears without a cry for help or survivors," Farnquist said. "The mystery prevails today, even after numerous dives have been conducted to explore for an answer."


TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society; US: Michigan; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: edmundfitzgerald; maritime; shipwreck

1 posted on 11/10/2005 2:50:57 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
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To: Watery Tart; ButThreeLeftsDo; KRAUTMAN; reformedliberal; Mygirlsmom; codercpc; s2baccha; ...

Good Evening Wisconsin Conservative Politics Ping List Members. Just a reminder that Wisconsin lost a lot of brave men thirty years ago, this day.


2 posted on 11/10/2005 2:52:23 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

There is already a thread running with this Diana.


3 posted on 11/10/2005 2:55:55 PM PST by RetiredArmy (I have no faith in any politician or political party any more. They all lie for their agendas.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Gordon Lightfoot immortalized this tragedy with a song that has remained a favorite of mine over many decades.


4 posted on 11/10/2005 2:56:21 PM PST by beckett (Amor Fati)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Edmund Fitzgerald

Gordon Lightfoot: Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

5 posted on 11/10/2005 2:56:56 PM PST by Professional Engineer (Happy birthday Jarheads!)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; All

Here's a link if you want read more about the bell:

http://www.ssefo.com/info/bellrestore.html

I think it'd be quite interesting to be at the bell ringing tonight and be that close to a real part of the Edmund Fitzgerald.


6 posted on 11/10/2005 2:56:57 PM PST by MplsSteve
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To: RetiredArmy

Yes, I looked. They're just talking about Gordon Lightfoot's song in "Chat." I wanted something with a little more meat on it's bones, in memorium. You know, what people are actually doing today to remember "the brave ship and crew."

But, the Mods will decide as they hold our sad little lives in their hands, LOL! ;)


7 posted on 11/10/2005 3:00:31 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin; All

I came across another link that should appeal to most of you today:

http://www.shipwreckmuseum.com/

Go to this site and watch a live webcast of the bell ringing at 6PM Eastern Time


8 posted on 11/10/2005 3:01:38 PM PST by MplsSteve
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
But, the Mods will decide as they hold our sad little lives in their hands,

I clicked on "Admin Moderator" and read about their powers. They are vast and amazing!

9 posted on 11/10/2005 3:04:01 PM PST by somemoreequalthanothers (All for the betterment of "the state", comrade)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers
I know! So don't p*ss 'em off on my thread, LOL! ;)
10 posted on 11/10/2005 3:06:00 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: HairOfTheDog; Ramius

Ping.

When I was in the U.P of Michigan with my folks several years ago, I was hoping to go to the museum at Whitefish Point, but we ended up not having time.


11 posted on 11/10/2005 3:06:37 PM PST by ecurbh (Join the Hobbit Hole Troop Support - http://freeper.the-hobbit-hole.net/)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

The bell is considered the soul of the ship.


12 posted on 11/10/2005 3:10:54 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Bump for the sailors who didn't come home to the wives and the sons and the daughters.


13 posted on 11/10/2005 3:13:47 PM PST by Pontiac (Ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of your rights can be fatal.)
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To: MplsSteve

Thanks, Steve! I came across that one, too.

As much as I fear being out in open water, I really like ships and submarines and aircraft carriers for some reason. Lake Michigan freaks me out when we'd take "The Badger" (big ferry) on her first trip after the ice breaks up from Manitowoc and along the WI shore. I spend my time in the Gift Shop and the Bar with a few peeks out the window. ;)

My Dad has sailed across Lake Michigan, but has never tackled Superior, and probably won't now that he's in his 70's. (He's Retired Navy.) He says the ocean is actually safer than a freshwater lake. (I don't know if that's true.) I, however, get the heebee-jeebies when I can't see shore from at least one side. I've fished on the shores of Superior and in some of her inlet streams (for trout), but I've never been out on her.

Guess that's why I went Army instead of Navy. They might push me out of a plane or a chopper, but at least there'd be solid land beneath me, LOL!


14 posted on 11/10/2005 3:14:52 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Professional Engineer

Thanks for the links and the pix. Very nice! :)


15 posted on 11/10/2005 3:15:30 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
" He says the ocean is actually safer than a freshwater lake. (I don't know if that's true.)"

Your dad was right! I am a former Merchant Marine Office and actually got the chance to sail on a great lakes carrier in 1964, as a Cadet. It was a wonderful experience.

The problem with the lakes is that storms come up fast and unlike ocean storms that produce large rolling swells. Waves come up fast on the lakes and can be more dangerous than ocean waves.

Also, there is not as much maneuvering room on the lakes, except Lake Superior, which many sailors prefer.

16 posted on 11/10/2005 3:34:52 PM PST by TheLion
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

The museum is near my home and I took my nephews there in Sept. Awesome place. BTW, I was grocery shopping the other day and saw the Arthur M. Anderson at the Soo Locks. (she was behind the Fitz on the night she went down)


17 posted on 11/10/2005 3:56:18 PM PST by wingnut1971
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
He says the ocean is actually safer than a freshwater lake.

I've heard that, too. Perhaps because salt water is so much more buoyant.

I, however, get the heebee-jeebies when I can't see shore from at least one side.... Guess that's why I went Army instead of Navy. They might push me out of a plane or a chopper, but at least there'd be solid land beneath me, LOL!

My brother, who started fishing the Pacific commercially at the age of 14, was often 200-plus miles out at sea for weeks at a time. When the boat was in port and my brother was busy doing the never-ending maintenance and upkeep, tourists would often wander by to chat.

A couple of giggly tourist girls, no doubt impressed by my brother's rugged good looks (sun-bleached shiny golden hair, deep tan, vivid blue eyes, very handsome), once asked him breathlessly, "Do you ever get very far from land?" He shrugged carelessly and said, "Nah, never more than a few miles, really." What he didn't add, so amused was he at their obvious disappointment: "Never more than a few miles ... straight down!"

18 posted on 11/10/2005 4:07:06 PM PST by Finny (God continue to Bless President G.W. Bush with wisdom, popularity, safety and success.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
They brought the bell back but the bodies remain on the wreck.

Note I said bodies not bones. The water is so cold that the normal decay is not happening.

:shiver: Learning that creeped me out for some reason.

19 posted on 11/10/2005 4:11:59 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Not all problems can be solved with a sledge hammer. Sometimes nitroglycerin is required. Or a Nuke)
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To: beckett

Recently re-done as "The Wreck of the Patrick Fitzgerald."


20 posted on 11/10/2005 4:19:54 PM PST by LS
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear; All

No! That can't be true. They've been down to visit the wreck numerous times. They recovered her bell in 1995. Their loved ones would've demanded those bodies brought back, had that been the case. They're long gone by now. Sturgeon food.

Besides, the ship split in two, so everyone was probably thrown hither and yon.

Anyone know about this rumor? See why this is still so interesting 30 years later? ;)


21 posted on 11/10/2005 4:21:55 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: TheLion

Our local Weatherman just did his schtick, and he showed the winds on the night she was sunk. We had 45-50 mph winds here just last night, and he showed how they traveled from southern WI up to Lake Superior, then there was a shift in the weather and it was actually another burst of wind from Canada that supposedly sunk her.

That's 'Gary The Weatherman's' theory, anyway. ;)


22 posted on 11/10/2005 4:23:58 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
The wreck site of the Fitzgerald is closed to divers.

The Kamloops wreck from the 1920's still has bodies in it as well. There are pictures of the Kamloops crew members.

The water is very cold and there is not much oxygen at that depth and temperature. So no critters and no decay.

23 posted on 11/10/2005 4:39:11 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Not all problems can be solved with a sledge hammer. Sometimes nitroglycerin is required. Or a Nuke)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

How'd they recover the bell in 1995?


24 posted on 11/10/2005 4:47:28 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: nutmeg

bttt


25 posted on 11/10/2005 5:12:00 PM PST by nutmeg ("We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." - Hillary Clinton 6/28/04)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
They might push me out of a plane or a chopper, but at least there'd be solid land beneath me, LOL!

Silly girl, there's solid land under a lake or ocean, you just don't fall as fast as you do from a plane or chopper.

:-))

26 posted on 11/10/2005 5:17:23 PM PST by AFreeBird (your mileage may vary)
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To: AFreeBird

I definately did NOT inherit my father's Navy Genes, LOL! Who knows, he was away a lot of the time. Maybe 'The Mailman' was a Landlubber? I'll go ask Mom. ;)


27 posted on 11/10/2005 6:16:49 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Pontiac
..Bump for the sailors who didn't come home to the wives and the sons and the daughters..

Yes:

"Nothing remains but the faces and names
of the wives and the sons and the daughters.."

28 posted on 11/10/2005 6:21:12 PM PST by MrNatural ("...You want the truth!?...")
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To: zip

ping


29 posted on 11/10/2005 8:35:05 PM PST by Mrs Zip
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
....fellas, it's too rough to feed ya! ping!

I had to have the song go through my head all day....


*useless-but-interesting trivia:

DID YOU KNOW...that the Edmund Fitzgerald was named after the Milwaukee harbormaster?

30 posted on 11/11/2005 3:09:10 AM PST by Watery Tart (“Why be a politician when it is so cheap to rent one on those rare occasions that you need one?”)
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To: Watery Tart

I did not know that! Remind me not to play 'Trivial Pursuit' with you, LOL!


31 posted on 11/11/2005 3:22:34 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
I think they might have used a robot but don't quote me on that. I am going on ten year old memories here.

I do remember that the Edmund Fitzgerald was found over 500 feet down. That is pretty deep for scuba divers to go. It can be done but it is risky.

I do remember that shortly after it was found it was dived by a couple of divers and they might have taken souvenirs. I do remember that the families were pretty upset about it and a law was passed that put the wreck off limits.

But bringing up a bell which is pretty big and solid is far different from bringing up a human body which is pretty small and squishy.

32 posted on 11/11/2005 3:47:12 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (Not all problems can be solved with a sledge hammer. Sometimes nitroglycerin is required. Or a Nuke)
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To: MrNatural
..Bump for the sailors who didn't come home to the wives and the sons and the daughters..

"Nothing remains but the faces and names of the wives and the sons and the daughters.."

I wonder if the Navy Hymn wouldn't be appropriate here.

33 posted on 11/11/2005 4:06:07 PM PST by dearolddad
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

"But bringing up a bell which is pretty big and solid is far different from bringing up a human body which is pretty small and squishy."

LOL! Well, we're all going to go "squishy" at some point, so I guess you have a good point there. ;)


34 posted on 11/11/2005 4:20:39 PM PST by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin
I did not know that! Remind me not to play 'Trivial Pursuit' with you, LOL!

Aw, shucks! Not another one! (I can't get anyone to play 'Trivial Pursuit' with me NOW!)

Hint: Listen to what Normally Boring Radio Guy has to say, then Google it, lol!

35 posted on 11/11/2005 7:57:18 PM PST by Watery Tart (“Why be a politician when it is so cheap to rent one on those rare occasions that you need one?”)
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To: Professional Engineer

See videos and pictures at this web site:
www.ssedmundfitzgerald.com
or www.tv17.org
thanks


36 posted on 08/18/2006 1:09:33 PM PDT by tv17.org
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