46th Anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald Remembered at Split Rock Lighthouse

TWO HARBORS, Minn. — It’s been 46 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald took off for Michigan but during its travels hit a storm and sank killing 29 sailors on board. Wednesday night, hundreds of people gathered at Split Rock Lighthouse to honor and remember this tragic event and the lives lost during it.

Many are reflecting on this anniversary of the sinking of the Fitzgerald in Lake Superior. Weighing more than 13,000 ton the American Great Lakes freighter remains the largest ship to sink in Lake Superior.

“It’s a much bigger turnout than we thought for what a normal Wednesday would be for the Fitz event so it’s great to have people up here and remembering the Fitz and also kind of engaging with history here at Split Rock and being able to see the beacon lit which is a very rare thing for people,” Hayes Scriven, Site Manager at Split Rock Lighthouse said.

Some family members of those who died were present helping ring the bell to remember the fallen and for those attending, it added another emotional element that made this a powerful experience.

“I think it’s a really nice solemn event, the crowd got hushed as the ceremony began, it was very honoring to the families, and there were two descendants of people who passed so that made it even a little more special that family was here to honor their family members,” Stephen Gond, an Attendee said.

For Hayes Scriven the Site Manager, he believes the addition of family members reminds people how recent this tragedy took place, and how it still lingers for those connected.

“It adds a more personal connection to it too for people to realize that this is something that happened very recent, 46 years is not a long time, so for people to see that and see the family and engage with them, we hope that people that attended had a better personal connection with it and understand a little more than do remember the Fitz in a different light this way,” Scriven said.

There was also a painting donated earlier in the day by the friends and family of Craig S. Hanka, who passed in December and loved Lake Superior and the shipping industry. This donation reflects how people feel about the event, and being a part of this remembrance too.

“Happy in a respectful way that we’re honoring people who lost their lives on the lake, and gotta have respect for the lake too,” Gond said.

The bell rang 29 times on Wednesday for the 29 sailors on board, but they rang it one extra time to remember all of the sailors lost in the great lakes too.

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