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This Day in History


The fall of 1975 I was in my Junior year in college. Due to the location of the campus universal events never reached our dorm rooms.

No cell phones. No computers.  Each dorm had one TV in the lobby so we never watched it. Any communication in general was by radio and we didn’t listen to the news.

Those 4 years I was completely sheltered from the outside world.

Except for going home for holidays and summers I lost track of the Viet Nam war and the Nixon Presidency. It wasn’t until after I graduated I found out Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned for tax evasion and George Foreman knocked Joe Frazier out.

That season for me was living in a 4 year time frame in a town with one stoplight, one gas station, a small pharmacy and no “eateries” of any kind.  We were forced to eat “mystery meat” every day.

To some extent being ignorant to worldly catastrophes and political zingers never left me feeling as if I was missing anything.

However in 1976 a song hit the air waves about a ship that sunk in Lake Superior the year before. At the time, I didn’t know it was true but soon found out the Edmund Fitzgerald was real and had disappeared on
November 10, 1975 in the deeps of that cold, dark lake.lost

The song by Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” became a top 10 hit.

Researching the history of this massive ship I found some very interesting details. Giving credit here is a website dedicated to the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald and the 29 crewmen who died along with it.



⇒Edmund Fitzgerald was President of Liberty Mutual Life Insurance Company. The ship was named after him.

⇒This iron ore 75 feet wide, 759 feet long and 38 feet tall cargo ship was launched in 1958.  It was the largest ship on the lakes during its 17 years of life weighing over 13,000 tons, 

⇒The ship lost contact with the “Arthur M. Anderson” a fellow ship in the waters, around 7:20 pm the night of November 10, 1975. The last words from Captain McSorley of the Edmund Fitzgerald to Captain Jesse Cooper were:

⇒“We are holding our own.”

⇒A storm raged around the ship at 52 knots or 59 mph (winds) and waves over 10 feet high.

⇒Many theories as to what caused the ship to sink remain theories. Many expeditions since that dreadful night have occurred with no conclusive explanation as to the reason it sank. The bad weather could or most likely had a part to play in the outcome.

⇒Some family members were called about the loss of their loved ones on the ship. Sadly, the others found out by watching it on TV.

⇒Gordon Lightfoot wrote the song as a tribute to the 29 crewmen who died on the Edmund Fitzgerald. He has been careful to protect the song for the families left behind as a gesture of support for their loss and honors them by singing it at every one of his concerts.

This true story is a replica of many. Lives lived doing what they were called to do only to die pre-mature deaths.

Life is short on this planet which is why we need to tell people about Jesus Christ every day.

As we remember our Veterans tomorrow let us be reminded of those who have fought for our sacred beginnings of this great nation. Let us agree in prayer for America to seek God’s face and fall at the cross of Christ in repentance.

Let us thank God for his great mercy and grace as he continues to extend it to us because we sure don’t deserve it.

2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

4 thoughts on “This Day in History

  1. A very interesting story. How difficult would it be today to give up restaurants, one TV, no cell phone for four years? I can’t wait to hear your answer

    • Terry, in those days of living without any communication it rarely crossed my mind. Today my husband laughs at me in the mornings because the first thing I do is reach for my phone! LOL!

  2. My first job after college was in Detroit, Michigan, where the Maritime Sailors’ Cathedral is located. I walked past it quite a few times, but it wasn’t until I heard Lightfoot sing “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” that I thought much about it. Life is fragile.

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