« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 58: A Lesser Known Vessel

2017-05-30 | 🔗

Captain Cooper was asked to do the impossible - But he found it impossible not to try.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hey there, it's micro- and this is the way I heard the only podcast for the curious mind with a short attention span. I've been thinking and rather then sell the incredibly valuable piece of real estate that precedes the unforgettable story. You're about to hear too many of my loyal sponsors this month, I'm going to keep it for myself, so that I might suggest to you with great humility that you consider giving my book as a Christmas present like the story you're about to hear the book is called the way I heard it and modesty aside, I don't think you'll find a more appropriate gift out there. The review
whose are excellent. It's an official New York Times best seller and everybody tells me they hear my voice in their head when they read it now. I don't know if that's that's good thing or a bad thing for weird thing, but it's definitely something: gotta micro dot com, slash book, that's micro, dot, com, slash book there, still a few autographed copies left if you'd like one just click on autographed copy stuff it in a stocking rapid and brown paper, or slap, a bow on my giant face and give it to somebody love or like, or somebody just simply feel obligated to buy gift for either waits at micro, dot, com, slash book. This is the way I The transmission came over the Shortwave radio, exactly twenty one hundred hours. It was a simple request,
buried in a sea of static, delivered by a man accustomed to giving orders. We've lost contact with mcsorely the voice said: can you get back out there? Bernie Cooper looked at his radio cocked his head? Maybe he had misheard, maybe the captain and was just indulging in a bit of gallows humour as military men sometimes do when the danger is so clear and so present there is nothing to do, but joke Bernie turned up the volume and asked the captain to repeat his request. The captain did, and this time there was no mistaking the gravity of the situation, makes Surely it is man had gone dark. They were, sir. Did by a merciless enemy who would take no prisoners and Bernie was being asked to charge back. To the fray to rescue twenty nine men, who were probably already dead Bernie's initial reaction was not exactly enthusiastic. Have you seen the conditions out there. He said if you really
me too I'll try, but the situation is untenable. Do you understand that if you, Google, the actual conversation you'll hear the dread in Bernie Coopers Voice, even through the static? You can hear a man hoping to be ordered to stand down, but the voice and the static only set the hook deeper. You're right said the captain I can order you to risk the lives of your crew. I can only tell you the twenty nine men are in grave. Danger and you are their we hope Bernie Cooper closed his eyes and considered the facts. Even if Mcsorley and his men were still alive, which was unlikely. There was no way they could survive the night Even if Bernie left immediately, he was still hours away with a vastly superior foe in between determined to destroy him. So Bernie talked to his men and then
he did the only sensible thing. A man in his position could do. He turned the Arthur Anderson away from the safety of Whitefish Bay and sailed straight back through the gates of hell, for the fearless courage comes easy, but real bravery. That's what you see when frightened men do something courageous and make no mistake. Bernie Cooper was frightened over the next few hours. The captain could only watch as thirty five foot waves hammered the deck of the Arthur Anderson, pushing it further and further below the surface. There were moments more than a few when every instinct and Bernie's body demanded he turned his ship around, but he didn't because ultimately, Bernie knew it could have been him out there struggling to stay afloat in the dark and frigid waters.
It, could have been him wondering if anyone knows where the love of God goes on the way waves turned the minutes to hours, so Bernie stayed the course and the Arthur Anderson held its own and when they finally arrived at Mcsorley's last location, they found precisely what they expected to find a few empty life, jackets, a shattered lifeboat and no sign of survivors. Today, forty one years later, the legend lives on thanks to a ballad that honors Earnest Mcsorley's mighty ship now forever consigned to the shadowy depths of the big like they called Gitche Gumee, you probably know the ballad. In fact, you can probably sing, along with the musician, who calls
mcsorely's tribute the best thing he ever wrote. But what about the Spirit of Captain Cooper that little ditty never made it onto the charts, but it's out there and if you, Google, it you'll hear another ballad of a lesser known ship sung by a lesser known artist in of a lesser known captain. I captain who risked everything to save twenty nine doomed men who would have surely done the same for him, a captain who understood that in battle on land or sea, you never leave a man behind. You have to try and save them, even when the gales of November come early, even when Nothing remains, but the faces in the names of the wives and the sons and daughters. You have to try. Captain Cooper
failed to save a single soul that day, but he did not fail to try, and that is why he and his, through were so warmly welcomed, and that must be old Hall in Detroit. Called the maritime sailors cathedral. There, the brave men of the Arthur Anderson, gathered with hundreds of more and did the only sensible thing men in their position can do they wept and prayed in quiet. Reverence as the church Bell chimed till it rang twenty nine times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald anyway, that's the way I heard it.
Transcript generated on 2021-06-13.