A Special Day

     November 10th is a memorable day not only for us but also for those familiar with the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald.  On November 10th, 1999 our daughter Abigail was born so today we celebrate her 7th birthday.  On November 10th, 1975 Lake Superior took down the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald and with it 29 men who are forever remembered.   

<%image(20061031-s.s. edmund fitzgerald.jpg|250|159|S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald)%>

    The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was an iron ore ship that was on it’s way from Superior, Wisconsin to Zug Island on the Detroit River.  The ship was built in 1957 and made it’s first voyage in 1958 so it had seen a number of years on the water as well as suffered through some damage.  The day the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk there were high winds reported up to 45 knots or 51.8 miles per hour and waves as high as 30 feet.  No one knows for sure what happened on November 10th, 1975 but the end result was the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald and the loss of 29 lives. 

     There is a great website that contains a good deal of information about this historical Lake Superior event.  The lyrics to the Gordon Lightfoot Song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald also tell the story of that last voyage.  As we take the time to celebrate Abby’s birthday we also remember those lives that were lost on the same day.

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
Of the big lake they call 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 – 26,000 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 the 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 ships bell rang
Could it be the North Wind they’d been feeling.

The wind in the wires made a tattletale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the Captain did, too,
T’was the witch of November come stealing.

The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashing
When afternoon came it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane West Wind

When supper time came the old cook came on deck
Saying fellows it’s too rough to feed ya
At 7PM a main hatchway caved in
He said fellas it’s been good to know ya.

The Captain wired in he had water coming in
And the good ship and crew was in peril
And later that night when his lights went out of sight
Came the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the words turn the minutes to hours
The searchers all say they’d have made Whitefish Bay
If they’d 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 ruins 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, ’til it rang 29 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 say, never gives up her dead
When the gales of November come early.