Edmund Fitzgerald 2021: Attend a shipwreck memorial service in person or virtually

Edmund Fitzgerald 2021: Attend a shipwreck memorial service in person or virtually
November 8, 2021 Natasha Blakely

“The legend lives on…”

Nov. 10 has been an unassailable part of Great Lakes culture and history since 1975 when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior with its entire crew of 29 and was immortalized in the famous song by Gordon Lightfoot.

The ship went down in Lake Superior, near Whitefish Point, but it’s a piece of history that connects people all around the region who care about the lakes and their history or have experienced their own loss.

Every year, that date is honored throughout the region at museums and churches that keep alive in memory the incident and the people lost.

For anyone interested in participating in one of the events, here’s a list of them:


Detroit Historical Society

DHS is hosting an in-person event at its Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10. You can buy tickets online. A lantern vigil will start the event, followed by an Honor Guard escort of a memorial wreath, a performance and remarks. For those who cannot attend in person, the event will also be livestreamed on the Dossin Great Lakes Museum’s Facebook page.

Photo by of David Pennock, courtesy of Mariners' Church of Detroit

Mariners’ Church of Detroit holds a memorial service every year for lives lost on the Great Lakes. (Photo Credit: David Pennock, courtesy of Mariners’ Church of Detroit)

Mariners’ Church of Detroit

Every year since the incident, the Mariners’ Church has held a memorial service acknowledging the loss. This year’s will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 14, and honors not just the Edmund Fitzgerald but all of the sailors who have served on the Great Lakes and military personnel who have lost their lives.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

The museum’s annual memorial event will be a closed ceremony this year, with only surviving family members of the victims, U.S. Coast Guard and Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society personnel attending in person. But the event will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10 on the 9&10 News VUit channel or local TV station Fox 32 in northern Michigan.

Marquette Maritime Museum and Lighthouse

The museum will be hosting an event all about the Edmund Fitzerald at the Ore Dock Brewing Co. at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.


Split Rock Lighthouse

The Minnesota Historical Society and Split Rock Lighthouse are together hosting a memorial event on Wednesday, Nov. 10. The lighthouse, fog signal building and visitor center will be open with costumed interpreters available to educate and guide attendees. At 4:30 p.m., the lighthouse will close for the memorial ceremony and beacon lighting, after which tours will open again. For more details, check the event page online. Anyone who cannot attend in person can also watch a livestream of the ceremony on YouTube.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (Photo Credit: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)


Earnest Brew Works

Ellen Kennedy with the National Museum of the Great Lakes will give a presentation on the Edmund Fitzgerald at 6 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 8 at Earnest Brew Works in Toledo.


Peters Township Public Library

The library is hosting a virtual historical talk about the Edmund Fitzgerald, including showing footage of the ship’s construction. The event will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 9, and attendees can get access by registering online.


Bayfield Heritage Association

The Bayfield Heritage Association is hosting an online event about the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 21, featuring Bob Nelson – a commercial fisherman who had been out on Lake Superior that day – as well as historian Thom Holden.

There may be other events in your region, so be sure to check with your local libraries and museums if interested.

Catch more news on Great Lakes Now:

Lighthouse to allow visitors again for Fitzgerald memorial

Rogers City museum inducts Lake Huron shipwreck victims, honors lives

”Bells Chime 29 Times”: Detroit Mariners’ Church continues its annual memorial service

Featured image: Dossin Great Lakes Museum (Great Lakes Now file image)


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