Dylan Thomas (1914-1953)
On November 10, 1975 the Edmund Fitzgerald, an iron ore freighter, foundered in the icy waters of Lake Superior near Whitefish point during a fierce storm. The captain and his crew - 29 men - all perished.
In moments that must have stretched out like ripples into a sea of eternity, the massive freighter was thrust eighty & eight fathoms into Superior's icy depths. Only a few miles away the calmer waters of Whitefish bay beckoned the ship to safety. But like some harbinger of doom, the otherwise trusty lighthouse beacon at Whitefish point was enveloped in a deafening darkness.
The years pass, and in what must seem like a grotesque irony, the artificial light of human curiosity descends now and then to disturb the stillness of that cold and black abyss. Penetrating the perpetual night, the bold lettering on her rusty hull is once again made visible. The "Fitz" as she was affectionately called, glimmers like some gigantic shattered monument in a region that has been called by many the graveyard of ships. So too, in our memories we occasionally visit her. In song and ballad we remember that good ship and crew - a legend within our own time. And we recall how, like the sea gull lilting in the off-shore breeze, she danced in a sun-lit bay!
November 10, 1996