For a Shipwreck of Legend, the Spotlight Dims a Bit (Edmund Fitzgerald)

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Thirty-one years after it occurred and almost as long since it was immortalized in a popular song, the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald will finally recede into the ranks of other Great Lakes maritime disasters at an annual memorial service here.

The rector of the Mariners’ Church of Detroit, as well as families of the 29 men lost on the ship, say it is time to de-emphasize the wreck, particularly now that Canadian officials have put it off limits to divers, a goal of those who have helped keep the legend alive. So the service — this year’s is being held Sunday — will now remember all of the countless mariners lost on the lakes, as it once did, rather than just those on the Fitzgerald, as it has for three decades.

“I feel comfortable with this,” said Ruth Hudson of North Olmsted, Ohio, whose son, Bruce, was a deckhand on the Fitzgerald. “I think it’s time to do this. It’s time to let it rest.”

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