It was a long time before I was born but the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald made an impression on my life.
Growing up on the Great Lakes it is hard to get away from the presence of the commercial benefits of the lakes. We see freighters on the lakes on a consistent basis while we are sailing, fishing or just out tubing on a calm day and from my youngest memories I have been amazed at the size, the speed and the sheer ability for those massive boats to navigate the lakes and rivers. Their presence is commanding and no one on the lakes can resist watching as one passes by.
It seems like everyone is connected to the freighters on the Great Lakes. The people we sail with and friends at the club all know someone who works on the massive ships. Even my godfather was a captain aboard these vessels. No one can deny the benefit that the business gives to local economies, the families and businesses that are all here. Every year in school we would learn about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald and what that means to us all.
In school there were kids who knew or were related to someone who was aboard that ship. We are all too young to have actually known any of them, but their stories and connections touched us all. We all knew that storms on the lake could get vicious and that even the massive ships that appear to handle anything can be taken by a gale on the lakes. It was just a fact of life, something we all needed to accept each time we stepped into our boats to go out to play.
I am not suggesting that we lived in fear or that we spent time worrying about what would happen…or at least not a lot, but we all knew that if something as big and powerful as the Edmund Fitzgerald could be taken by the sea then there was no doubt that we had to be cautions.
So even today as I sit in Miami spending every day on the water training to become an Olympion I pause and think of the 29 men who loved the water, the boats and the lifestyle we all clearly share and I recognize that their spirit remains in the waters of this planet and drives us all to push on in a storm and to strive to always do what we love in this world without pause or fear. The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was a tragic loss and will be something that I shall stop and think of each day as I set out to sea.
I am working to bring Olympic Sailing Gold home to the Great lakes. Please browse my site and learn about my efforts. Thank you.