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Duluth convention honors the Edmund Fitzgerald, 40 years after sinking

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One of the last cities to ever see the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald before her fabled sinking will remember the wreck this weekend with a tribute to the boat and crew.

The Gales of November, an annual convention dedicated to the history and culture of the Great Lakes shipping industry, is being held in Duluth Friday and Saturday, according to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. 

To honor the 40th anniversary of the wreck, which was immortalized in a Gordon Lightfoot ballad of the same name, the event is welcoming family members of the ill-fated crew.

According to the Duluth News Tribune, the special guests – Pam Johnson and Jack Borgeson, daughter and son of crewmen Robert Rafferty and Thomas Borgeson – will join three "Fitzgerald experts" for a panel discussion Saturday at noon.

The paper says the Gales of November will also feature a performance of "Ten November," which is a play based on the sinking, plus other commemorative events.

The event is being held for the 28th time this year.

On Nov. 9, 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald, an iron ore freighter that launched in 1958, left Superior, Wisconsin, with a crew of 29. It was due to arrive in Detroit with a load of taconite, but instead sank to the bottom of the lake during a violent storm.

On Tuesday, Nov. 10, the anniversary of the tragedy, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum will hold its annual memorial service when the Fitzgerald's bell – which was recovered from the underwater wreck in 1995 – will be tolled 29 times for each crew member.

It will be rung an additional time for "all Mariners lost on the Great Lakes," the museum says.

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