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RIVER ROUGE: Memorial set for legendary shipwreck Thursday

By Alan Burdziak RIVER ROUGE — A memorial service for 29 crew members who died aboard the SS Edmund Fitzgerald Nov. 10, 1965 is scheduled for the 36th anniversary of the shipwreck, at Belanger Park in River Rouge.The event is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. A heated tent will open at 4:30 p.m. with artifacts from the ship at Belanger Park Drive and Marion Street.The free, public event will also have food and refreshments.Relatives of crew members, nautical experts and people who helped build the ship are expected to speak at the ceremony.A wreath will be tossed into the Detroit River and a bell will be rung 30 times — one for every crew member and one for all sailors lost in the Great Lakes — aboard a tugboat on the river at 7:10 p.m., the time the ship sank.Also, the River Rouge Historical Museum, 10750 W. Jefferson Ave., will have an open house with Edmund Fitzgerald photos, videos and artifacts from 4 to 5 p.m.The729-feet long Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest ship on the Great Lakes when it was launched in June 1958 and is the largest ship to ever sink in any of the five.The freighter sank 17 miles northwest of Whitefish Point in Lake Superior while on its way to Zug Island.While many have speculated, none have been able to determine why the ship sank, event organizer Roscoe Clark said.Clark said most people think it was a storm, but in his six years of research on the shipwreck, he said he has uncovered evidence that structural failure was the cause.“We feel bad because the crew was more or less blamed for not doing their job and that wasn’t the case,” Clark said.There were more than 4,000 feet of broken welds on the ship, he said, and when the ship broke in half as it sank, the middle 200 feet disintegrated.For more information call 1-810-519-2148.Contact Staff Writer Alan Burdziak at or 1-734-246-0882 or follow him on Twitter @AlanBurdziak. Return to Paging Mode

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