10 November 2009

Gitche Gumee

In the Ojibwe language, the lake is called Gitchigumi, meaning "big water". It is also written "Gitche Gumee" as recorded by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in The Song of Hiawatha and in Gordon Lightfoot's song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".

The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead

On November 10, 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior.  Several expeditions have been mounted to the wreck and have been the subject of some controversy. On July 4th, 1995 the ship's bell and stanchion were recovered from where they lay beneath 550 feet of Lake Superior.

A replica of the bell, graven with the names of the crew, was left in its place. The bell was presented to the relatives of the crew and rung thirty times -- once for each member of the crew and a final time in honor of all those who have lost their lives at sea. The bell was given to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point to serve as a memorial to the ship and crew. 

The link takes you to the full story and the memorial to the men lost in the storm.


keyboard jockey said...

I love Longfellow I don't know why because his poetry is lyrical?

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Linda said...

This particular Gordon Lightfoot song was always one of my very favorites though it's definitely a haunting one.

It still amazes me that they're called the Great LAKES as most of those bodies of water seem like simply small oceans to me! I've always wanted to see the lighthouses on Lake Michigan, though. Maybe someday?

God bless and keep the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald; we'll never know what really happened even though there are some pretty good ideas.

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Travis said...

I missed that anniversary. I like the idea that they replaced what they took. I feel like that should be the standard when recovering artifacts from shipwrecks. I think we should always replace what we take with some token of remembrance for those lost.

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