Annual ceremony remembers mariners lost on the Great Lakes

Evan James Carter
The Detroit News
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Detroit — Moments after a pair of bugle players finished their salutes, a wreath of red-and-white roses was passed to the waiting hands of two guardsmen on a U.S. Coast Guard boat.

As the wreath drifted farther from the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in the Detroit River — each rose representing the 29 lives lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald as well as those lost on the water during the Great Storm of 1844 in Buffalo, New York. In addition, members of the honor guard tossed red roses into the river to honor the mariners. Later, many of those attending the event threw roses into the water.

The Lost Mariners Remembrance event has been held every year since 1999 to remember mariner lives lost on the Great Lakes. The program is held annually on the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking on Nov. 10, 1975.

International Shipmaster Association Capt. Ron LaPlante of Harrison Township takes a rose to throw into the Detroit River in memory of his brother, George LaPlante Jr.  at the 20th Annual Lost Mariners Remembrance ceremony at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit on Nov. 10, 2019.

Ron LaPlante, 78, said his rose was for his brother, boat captain George LaPlante Jr., who died in the past decade. He said the event wasn't just about honoring those who had lost their lives on the Great Lakes, but about preventing more from dying on the waters of the Great Lakes.

"All the guys that went before me, doing the same thing. We're all in this to make boating a safer place," said LaPlante, also a boat captain from Harrison Township.

Twitter: @EvanJamesCarter

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