30 year anniversary of the death of THE EDMUND FITZGERALD.
By JOHN FLESHER, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 11, 9:00 AM ET
WHITEFISH POINT, Mich. - Deborah Champeau-Felder stood silently as the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald clanged in memory of her father, one of 29 mariners who perished when the ore carrier sank in a vicious Lake Superior storm 30 years ago.
As the sound faded Thursday, she kissed her hand and laid it gently on the bell.
"It's the soul of the ship, it's the soul of my dad," Champeau-Felder, daughter of assistant engineer Oliver J. Champeau, later said. "It's something I can't let go of."
The 47-year-old resident of Nashotah, Wis., was among hundreds who attended a memorial at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, the nearest spot on land to the Fitzgerald gravesite 17 miles northwest.
The 729-foot freighter was caught in a catastrophic gale and sank Nov. 10, 1975, after taking on a load of iron ore at Superior, Wis.
Family members and survivors of other ship wrecks rang the bell one by one as names of the lost men were called, a ceremony known as "Call to the Last Watch."
No bodies were ever been recovered and the cause of the sinking is still debated. MORE
I read that phrase “Call to the Last Watch” and a little shiver passes by. I don’t worry about that “Call” but I’m ever aware; today could be the last watch. It’s happened to better and younger people than myself. And there’s a haunting quality to that phrase; we are all of us called to the last watch sooner or later.
Today we remember the veterans who have been called to the last watch and who will be called to the last watch. Surely the men/boys of WWII were the greatest generation. To those veterans still alive; We Owe You! jb