Just a personal note: I have no personal connection to this tragic event. But, in Michigan here, this is basically our 9/11. There has not been a more tragic event like this one. It is something that always gives me the chills to think about. May the memory of these 29 men never be forgotten and what killed them, which was greedy crony capitalists that really only cared about getting the profit made and not about the lives of these men.
The only music that I will ever play for this event:
As 11 bells tolled inside the Mariners’ Church in downtown Detroit, the family members of some of the victims of the 1975 wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald mourned but also recalled happier times for their loved ones aboard the ill-fated freighter.
Sisters Elaine Riippa Sespico and Lonnie Turner journeyed from Ashtabula, Ohio to Detroit to join more than 250 in the church at the foot of the Detroit River to remember their 22-year-old brother Paul Michael Riippa during the annual Great Lakes Memorial Service.
“It was such a devastation,” said Sespico Sunday after the service about her younger brother. Paul Riippa was a deck hand who was on the Edmund Fitzgerald during its final journey when it went down during a November gale in Lake Superior. He had taken the assignment to earn money for college. He was studying nursing.
Twenty-nine lives were lost when the freighter, carrying ore, sank in November in 1975.
Turner said her brother was an athlete and played football in high school. She said he looked like Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She said Paul Riippa was attending Wilmington College when he lost his life aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald and was planning to attend Kent State University.
“We hope people won’t forget. We hope people will always the Edmund Fitzgerald and the 29 lives that were lost,” said Sespico. “It was such a devastation.”
Sespico said of her younger brother: “We loved him very much. ..he was such a good boy and we will always remember him. He loved God. He loved Jesus. He loved everybody.”
Both Sespico and Turner recalled Sunday the horrendous days that would pass before they learned that their brother would not be coming home.
“We waited anxiously for quite a few days for him to come back because we always knew he would be one to survive,” said Sespico. She said she talks to her children all the time about her brother.
“ We talk about him to keep his memory on,” she said. “We don’t want to forget.”
Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank to the bottom of Lake Superior during a storm. – Source Detroit News