There have been many memorials in the past commemorating the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. From books to plays to television shows to a top ten song, the Edmund Fitzgerald has been memorialized many times over the last three decades.
2017 Memorial Services
November 10, 2017
- Dossin Great Lakes Museum Lost Mariners Remembrance: 6-8pm
- Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Edmund Fitzgerald 40th Memorial Ceremony: 7pm
- Great Lakes Shipwreck Memorial: 11am (Mariners' Church of Detroit)
If you notice a memorial is missing from this page, contact us.
Every year, these places hold ceremonies for family and friends of the lost crewmen of the Edmund Fitzgerald and other Great Lakes losses. The ceremony at Mariners' Church by Reverend Richard Ingalls was the first ever commemoration to the men, and is mentioned in the song. The day after the wreck, the Reverend prayed for the twenty-nine men's families and rang the church bell twenty-nine times, as mentioned in Lightfoot's song.
Other Memorials from the Past
by Steven Dietz
This theatrical production which was originally a musical is a wonderful ninety minute reenactment of the ship's final trip up until the sinking and after, going back and forth in a form that seems to resemble flashbacks. Nine men play forty-four roles in this commemoration production, written by Steven Dietz. The webmaster and his family have seen this play in a local theater, and were guests backstage where they were able to meet the director and discuss the play. The family recommends this play to anyone who wishes to know more about the sinking and learn about the men onboard.
Holdin' Our Own
by Shelley Russell
A newer play in the growing collection of theatrical memorials to the Edmund Fitzgerald, the play Holdin' Our Own was written by Shelley Russell, an instructor at Northern Michigan University. The play included several actors to play the roles of the twenty-nine original crewmen and the play favors no specific theory to the sinking of the ship, it ends in such a way that you have a chance to make up your own ending as to why the ship sank. This play is a great tribute to the men, without getting too political or opinionated in the way it presents the material. For more information, or to read an interview with one of the actors, Daniel "Rusty" Bowers, and the director, Shelley Russell, visit our interviews page.
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
by Gordon Lightfoot
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, written by Gordon Lightfoot and inspired by the shipwreck, was released in 1976, just months after the shipwreck itself. It became a top-ten hit immediately, and was very popular all over, though many people didn't even realize it was based on truth (some just think it is a "great story"). Once people started researching it, more and more people became aware of the actual sunken Edmund Fitzgerald, and more and more people are learning of it everyday. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, (the song) is one reason that so many people know of the shipwreck itself, and why the Edmund Fitzgerald is the most well-known shipwreck on the Great Lakes. Click here to get lyrics, and learn about Gordon Lightfoot and his song.
by Various Authors
The various books on the market based on the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald are among the most popular research materials regarding the sinking; they are the most informative many time, and they are easily attainable. There are many books on the market, but to read about just a few of them, click here.
The Consecration of the Gravesite
On Saturday, July 17, 1999, Mariners' Church in Detroit, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and the families of the lost men on the Fitz, came together to have a final "closure." This closure would be one that many families could receive less than a week after a loved ones death. This is having a place considered a gravesite. The families of the lost Edmund Fitzgerald crew men had to wait twenty four years, but they finally received this closure. The bell was rung twenty nine times, a service was held, wreaths were cast, and even Gordon Lightfoot was present. This two hour service was beautiful and probably one of the best memorials to this day.