Monday, November 12, 2012

29 Tones







Growing up in Michigan when I did you could not avoid the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  When I'd overhear people talking about it the hairs on the back of my 8 year old neck would stand straight up - the largest boat on the lake disappears with all 29 hands and no trace, no mayday,  just poof it's gone - heavy stuff.  eventually the boat was found, torn in half, 500 feet below lake Superior.  The theory machine fired up and still chugs along to this day.  Rouge wave, massive structural failure, running aground on 6th fathom shoal, even aliens.  The truth is we probably will never know.  All we do know is it happened and 29 men lost their lives. This past Saturday - the 37th anniversary of the sinking - there was a memorial held where the Fitzgerald was built in River Rouge.  Surviving family members of the 29 lost gathered to remember them and the boat that delivered them to their fate.  Stories were told about the boat and it's crew by relatives, past Fitzgerald crew members and experts on the wreck.  At 7:10 (when the boat disappeared from radar) a bell was rung 29 times, each tone representing each sailor lost, by family members, friends and strangers who gathered to say goodbye.  A wreath  was placed in the Detroit River a few feet away as modern freighters pushed by signalling their respect with a special fog horn tone specifically created for the memory of the Fitz and only used on this day.  On the ride home it got cold and began raining.  Rolling by one ancient factory after another on Detroit's riverfront - all the mechanical might of this country at one time - now totally silent and rusting away in a deep sleep, much like the Fitz on the bottom of lake Superior. It made me think of what it must of been like during the final moments for those men.  The hairs on the back of my neck were standing straight up.

8 comments:

WhitelinePsycho said...

Lightfoot's tune still makes me feel a little uncomfortable, great blurb Diesel, thanks.

Bird-Doggin' said...

How did you find out about this ceremony?

Sleepy said...

I know.....! That song would come on the radio and everything would stop. I was riveted to every word.

Diesel said...

Bird-Doggin, the internet.

scrapmetalart said...

waves of chills ran thru my body as I read your post. Thank you

gary m. said...

I'm at a loss for words. thank you

rmee said...

Great post B, keep up the good work!

Diesel said...

Thanks all.