On November 10, 1975, the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot bulk freighter, vanished in an early winter gale on Lake Superior.
North winds clocked at 80 miles per hour stirred waves wild to 25 feet high. She never had time to issue a distress signal and took 29 men to the bottom with her.
Her mysterious sinking is well known to every seaman of the Great Lakes. In 1976, Gordon Lightfoot wrote the haunting song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” that captured the feeling of the loss of life and the fearsomeness of Lake Superior that “never gives up its dead.”
Rehoboth Beach singer and songwriter Stuart Vining conjured up the memory of that ship’s sinking when he sang the Gordon Lightfoot song a few weeks ago at the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild, “Night of Songs and Stories.”
For me, Stuart’s raspy voice and experienced guitar playing made me mourn for the lost sailors and for their families. I went right home and searched for more information on the web about the ship. I found several YouTube videos. The scenes they portrayed also were haunting. That ship was so big and proud. How could it disappear into the night, without a word, even in a bad storm?
I kept thinking about how fickle Mother Nature can be and how a storm is so much more powerful than anything we can build.