The age old song from the opening of “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” is enough to bring immense memories back to 1975. That evening was the one where the great ship and her crew fell to the sea of Lake Surperior. The mighty crew and captain were taken down by what the National Weather Service calls a storm of force winds and waves. The waves were likely over 25 feet tall, and the entire ordeal took place just 15 miles away from Whitefish point. 29 men were on board.
Fred Stonehouse, a Marine historian stated that remembering the “Big Fitz” and the crew that handled her led by Captain Ernest, carries an immense meaning to the maritime community.
“(The) Fitzgerald has come to actually be the icon, the memory stone, the touchstone for all 65-hundred shipwrecks on the (Great) Lakes and all 30-thousand mariners lost,” he said.
Remember the Great Lakes, and how great they are.
According to Stonehouse, the tragedy prompted the government heavily to give more funding behind tech and data that would improve the forecast over the Great Lakes, in order to prevent problems like this in the future.
“And if you were to compare for example for where the reporting stations were in 1975 with where they are today, it is night and day,” he said.
The data network previously mentions extens across the Great Lake’s shores. It includes buoys that measure things like sea surface temperature, windspeed and the direction of the wind and barometric pressure. The National Weather Service Marquette made this clear to marine warnings “TO RESPECT THE POWER OF THE GREAT LAKES.”
“(The) Fitzgerald is really in our memories so much. One of the drivers is certainly the song by Gordon Lightfoot, ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’ and that haunting ballad is the one that really keeps this ship alive in the memory of a lot of people,” Stonehouse said.
On this Tuesday, we remember and commemorate those involved in that ship on November 10, 1975.