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Mariners' Church of Detroit bells toll for sailors lost at sea

The Detroit News

Bells tolled Sunday at Mariner's Church of Detroit for the 30,000 lives lost at sea, in shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, and military personnel who have sacrificed their lives.

The annual observance by the Great Lake Memorial Service honoring the sailors came days after the 46th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, one of the more famous shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.

The story of the doomed 729-foot ore carrier has been kept alive with Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 song, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," which recounts the tale of 29 men who lost their lives on Lake Superior near Whitefish Point in the Upper Peninsula on Nov. 10, 1975, after the ship foundered in 80-mph winds and 25 foot waves.

The congregation watches during the the Great Lake Memorial Service at Mariners' Church of Detroit during the observance of the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck and other ships that went down at sea.

Lightfoot has said he was distressed that the story of the fate of the ship wasn't getting enough attention after it went down.

"The Edmund Fitzgerald really seemed to go unnoticed at that time, anything I'd seen in the newspapers or magazines were very short, brief articles, and I felt I would like to expand upon the story of the sinking of the ship itself," said Lightfoot in a Reddit interview in 2014.

Capt. Brian Eickel, right, with the Captains of the International Ship Masters' Association, tolls the bell for sailors lost at sea on the Edmund Fitzgerald and the estimated 30,000 lives lost in other shipwrecks during the Great Lake Memorial Service at Mariners' Church of Detroit.

The ship rests in its grave, 535 feet below Lake Superior.

On Sunday, Lt. Col. Scott Katalenich of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Capt. Brian Eicke of Captains of the International Ship Masters' Association and Capt. Ken Suddick of Captains of the International Ship Masters' Association tolled the bell for the lives lost.

The Rev. Jeffrey M. Hubbard, the rector of Mariners' Church, asked churchgoers to pray for the saliors.