Above all, remember Fitzgerald's victims

Mark Thomas and Bruce Hudson, lost crew

Mark Thomas and Bruce Hudson, lost crew

As I sit and think of the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald this cool and windy November evening, I think of what it is really all about. Why has the sinking become such a fascination of so many people? Surely the mystery has contributed to this, but for me, the stories of the 29 men lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald tell an even greater story: the value of family. A ship was not the only loss in 1975. Twenty-nine families mourned the loss of a loved one, and the memories of their loved ones will never be forgotten.

The Edmund Fitzgerald sank 40 years ago on November 10, 1975. All hands were lost, and no one to this day knows definitively what caused the sinking of the Fitzgerald. Was the cause a shoal? Did the cargo shift? While dozens of theories exist, many times one just as plausible as the other, on this fortieth anniversary what is more important than any answer to our questions are the legacies of the twenty-nine men on board.

They were fathers, they were brothers, and they were sons. They had a family like all of us, and like everyone who loses a loved one, the pain of their friends and families was quite real. On November 11, 1975, twenty-nine families woke up with fear and anger, questioning "why me?" They would never again see their father, their brother, or their son. Never again would the Christmas ham be carved by "Daddy." Never again would there be a Thanksgiving with your brother, or a birthday to celebrate with your son.

The sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald took with it more than just a ship, it took with it 29 men who were loved, admired, and that will never be forgotten. As you remember the Edmund Fitzgerald, think less of the loss of a ship, and more of the loss of a brave crew. May the legend of 29 men live on...

Tim McCall
S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Online

This article originally published November 8, 2005. Number of years since sinking changed to reflect passage of time.