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He tolled the bell

REV. RICHARD INGALLS | 1926-2006: Freighter’s victims were in his heart

“When news of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot freighter carrying a full load of iron ore, reached the Rev. Richard Ingalls, rector of Mariners’ Church in downtown Detroit, he was quick to respond.

Upon confirmation from the Coast Guard that the entire crew of the giant carrier perished when it sank during a fierce storm on Lake Superior, Ingalls solemnly marched into the church bell tower and tolled the bell 29 times for each life lost”

It’s interesting how history is recorded; if it wasn’t for Gordon Lightfoot and the fact that I’ve seen the Mariner’s Church on many occasions (it’s located next to the Detroit tunnel) this man’s death would mean little to me. Yet, I love the song “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and I always loved the line about the church in Detroit.

Although the wreck is fairly recent history, it was still before I was born, which automatically makes it old history to me. For this reason I felt it odd that the man who tolled the bell had just passed away – it seems so long ago. I guess it’s time for the bell to toll for him.

About Jen

An instructor, a reader, a dog-owner, and advocate; that's how I define myself and these aspects directly impact my interests and conversations.


2 thoughts on “He tolled the bell

  1. While I always liked the song, I was never interested in the Edmund Fitzgerald until I started diving. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitgerald is in over 400 feet of water, which means that it cannot be dived without a sub. In the ’90s an expedition went down, retrieved the ship’s bell, and replaced it with one that had the names of the 29 men carved on it.
    The families of the crew have asked that their grave be respected,a nd diving is now banned on the ship.

    Posted by devon | 12 May 2006, 5:18 PM
  2. What’s happening with your formatting. The colors are blending into one

    Posted by Anonymous | 15 May 2006, 3:00 PM

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