Sailors who lost their lives in shipwrecks in the Great Lakes and Michigan waterways will be remembered at a historic church in downtown Detroit.
The annual Great Lakes Memorial Service will be held Sunday at 3 pm and will be broadcast live from Mariners’ Church along the Detroit River.
An estimated 30,000 deaths and approximately 6,000 shipwrecks have occurred in Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. Thursday is the 47th anniversary of arguably the most notable shipwreck: the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10, 1975.
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The freighter was carrying a load of iron ore pellets to a Detroit steel mill when it fell to the bottom of Lake Superior during a storm, 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Whitefish Point in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” tells the story of the sinking and power of the massive inland lake.
In 1976, a year after the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost, a memorial service was held at Mariners’ Church and included the ringing of the church’s “Brotherhood” bell 29 times, once for each crew member aboard the ship. freighter.
“The Great Lakes represent great wealth for the entire country, and especially for those of us lucky enough to live on their shores,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Hubbard, pastor of the Detroit Mariners’ Church. “But they can become treacherous and unpredictable.”
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“Six thousand shipwrecks, and more that we’re not even aware of yet, and the 30,000 lives lost in them are all the proof we need of that,” Hubbard said. “That’s why we take time each year to reflect on those lives and pray that there are no more shipwrecks and no more deaths on the lakes in the future.”
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The Church of the Sailors was founded in 1842 as a place of prayer and reflection for sailors. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.