Monday, November 17, 2008

Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service-Part 2

Last Monday, November 10, 2008, we attended the Great Lakes Mariners Memorial Service at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Michigan. It was the 33rd anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald where 29 men lost their lives. The service was meaningful and informative. The service included speakers associated with shipping or shipwrecks.


The service was attended by CPO1 Navy League Cadets from Canada.





The service was opened by Carl Behrend who is a Great Lakes balladeer from Munising, Michigan. He opened by singing "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", the song made famous by Gordon Lightfoot. Later in the service, Mr. Behrend sang "Amazing Grace" acapella. His beautiful voice combined with the powerful words really touched the crowd. During the the final verse, the audience spontaneouly joined in with him.


The opening remarks were given by James Spurr, President of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. He spoke about the importance of the water and shipping to human kind. He quoted the oldest poem that has been written down called the Wayfarer which was written around 900 AD.


The next speaker was Rev. Patrick Pointer. Rev. Pointer appeared twice in the program. He gave the invocation as well as presenting two beautiful wood carvings of the Edmund Fitzgerald. His words were so meaningful and really touched my heart. I contacted Rev. Pointer and he was gracious enough to share the words of the invocation with me. There are important enough to share with you. You can contact Rev. Pointer about his award-winning carvings at revpdog@hotmail.com.


I will continue my description of the service in the next blog.


Edmund Fitzgerald Bell Ringing Ceremony

November 10, 2008

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Launching of the Edmund Fitzgerald. We have come here this evening to pay tribute and to remember, not only those who sailed on that great ship, but to honor, and remember those who built, sailed, captained, and crewed the thousands of ships large and small that have sailed these Great Lakes as well as those who dedicated their lives to the Life Saving efforts of those in the United States Life Saving Service, the United States Coast Guard and the many civilians that put their lives in harms way to save the life of another.

For there are thousand upon thousands of lives that will be truly represented here tonight and each one of them has a story. When a ship is lost to these Great Waters, it is not just about one ship and one crew, but it involves many who are left behind and each of them have a story as well. And some how, we are all connected to these many stories. We drive the cars that came from the ore that these ships carried, live in homes that were built with the bricks and lumber they shipped, driven on roads that were provided by their cement and gravel, and the list goes on! Some how we are all connected.

I know that Gordon Lightfoot is very dear to many of you as his song “The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” has brought significant attention to Great Lakes Shipping. But there is one line in that song that bothered me for years. It says… “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours.”

Tonight, I have the answer to that perplexing question. His LOVE never left, it has been there all the time! And it is here tonight to heal, to comfort, to draw you near to Him, and to fill you with His presence if you will allow Him to.

The two carvings that I created to dedicate to this ship were carved to encompass the many who were involved over the last 50 years of the history of this ship. The first of the two titled; “Fare Thee Well” depicts the Mighty Fitz as she passes The Great Lakes Iron Works where she was built and launched. On the back of the carving is engraved a verse of Scripture form the Old Testament in the Book of Deuteronomy 28:6 where it says… Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

That Scripture is often quoted when a ship is launched, for everyone knows when you put a ship on the water, whether it is as small as a canoe or a thousand footer there is always the chance it will be lost.

For the past 33 years, this ship has become the “Icon” of the over 6000 ships that have been lost on the Great Lakes alone. For the past 33 years the mystery of the “HOW” and the “WHY” have grown as many seek closure and understanding. The builders, designers, the surviving family members, the rescuers and searchers, and countless others who are represented here in all of these ships that have gone down… know the grief of loss and the bewilderment of the “How” and the “WHY”. Yet God’s Love has been there all the time, and it is here tonight as we come to remember and to honor.

The second of the two carvings is entitled, “FAREWELL.” Often times when a ship is lost no one witnesses what happened or what actually took place and those who have survived are left with the questions of HOW… WHY… and memories of a loved one now gone. And the love of God is there… and the Love of God is here.

There was a small ship on the sea of Galilee in the middle of the night, in the midst of a storm and the lives of those on her were in peril. They called out to Jesus who was in their ship and He calmed the storm… He saved them. The Bible tells us that…For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I cannot help but think in those moments when one finds their life in Greatest Distress, that God would not give them the opportunity to “Call upon the Name of the Lord.” His Love is there… and His Love is HERE!

On the carving entitled, “FAREWELL” I engraved on the back a verse out of the New Testament in hopes to bring comfort and closure not as much to the many stories of the many lives who have been lost to these Great Lakes… but to those who have been left behind… wondering… “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours…?” His Love was there… and His Love is HERE. And for those who were given that great opportunity to Call Upon the Name of the Lord… If they were able to speak to us here tonight… I believe in my heart they would say… something very close to what is engraved on “FAREWELL”

Titus 3:15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.

Grace be with you all. Amen.

His Love was there… and His Love is Here Tonight… And now I call upon the name of the Lord… SAVE US! Amen… and Amen!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the report about the memorial service. Those of us that couldn't attend really appreciate it.

Sault Boat Watcher said...

This was my first memorial service there. I thought it was worthwhile. I don't know if this was typical of other services. But I found the ringing of the bell to be very touching. Because it was a cold, windy night there at Whitefish Point, it made the sinking seem very real and close.

Anonymous said...

PRESS RELEASE
35th Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service
RIVER ROUGE, MICHIGAN — A memorial service is planned for Wednesday November 10, 2010 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975.

The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion.

The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58.

Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen.

Artifacts and photographs also will be on display.

At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died.

A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Refreshments will be provided at the end.

Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips, photos and new information about the ship, at www.ssEdmundFitzgerald.com

Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave.
www.RiverRougeMuseum.com

For more information on either event, visit the Web site or call Clark at 1-810-519-2148 or Dolores Swekel at 1-313-842-7822.

Anonymous said...

S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald 37 Year Anniversary November 10, 2012
RIVER ROUGE — A memorial service is planned for Saturday November 10, 2012 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. and the heated tent open at 4:30 p.m. for viewing Edmund Fitzgerald artifacts, near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion. The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58. Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen. Artifacts, photographs and videos also will be on display and you can talk to the Fitz Ship Builders, past Crew Members and Fitz Family Members. At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died. A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Food and Refreshments will be provided free of charge. Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips and photos of the ship. Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave. This year, the service will be web cast free of charge for those viewers all across the US and Canada. For more information and location call Roscoe Clark at (810) 519-2148. This is a special program held each year and is free of charge.

Service said...

S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald 37 Year Anniversary November 10, 2012
RIVER ROUGE — A memorial service is planned for Saturday November 10, 2012 to remember the 29 men who died when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. The ceremony is set for 6 to 8 p.m. and the heated tent open at 4:30 p.m. for viewing Edmund Fitzgerald artifacts, near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park, off Belanger Park Drive and Marion. The event is held in River Rouge because that’s the city where the vessel was built in 1957 and ’58. Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen. Artifacts, photographs and videos also will be on display and you can talk to the Fitz Ship Builders, past Crew Members and Fitz Family Members. At 7:10 p.m. — the time the ship sank — a wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River. A bell will be rung 29 times in memory of each person who died. A plaque presentation and lantern lighting is planned. Food and Refreshments will be provided free of charge. Event organizer Roscoe Clark has a Web site devoted to the vessel, which contains several video clips and photos of the ship. Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 4 to 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave. This year, the service will be web cast free of charge for those viewers all across the US and Canada. For more information and location call Roscoe Clark at (810) 519-2148. This is a special program held each year and is free of charge.

Anonymous said...

Nov 10, 2012 service
www.ssedmundfitzgerald2012.com
see you there.....