Before I get into what I mean by the title '(IN) MEMORIAM', may I suggest that you click play on the mp3 just below to get the full effect (it provides an appropriate soundtrack* for today's post):
Nearer My God to Thee
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Now, I know that many of you are probably sick to death of hearing about the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic sinking, but I wanted to write about it so... There is just so much to learn from history and it's important to remember events like this so we don't repeat them. The Titanic sinking is a modern-day tragedy with hubris at its core. We can all learn from that, wouldn't you agree? Here's how hubris brought about the completely avoidable sinking of the RMS Titanic:
• racing across the Atlantic at breakneck speed to prove a point
• ignoring multiple warnings from other ships about ice in their path
• cutting corners to leave more room for finery, to be seen as the most luxurious of ocean liners, which meant that there were not enough lifeboats for even a third of the ship's passengers and crew (which they proceeded to lower into the ocean only half full)
• those with money and status were the first to be loaded into the lifeboats (women and children, primarily) while most in steerage (Third Class) were not even really given a chance at survival
Pride, arrogance, proving a point, cutting corners for appearance's sake, playing God and deciding whose lives were worth more than others... We all know the story, but it bears remembering. Why is it so important to rehash this tragedy? Here's the reason in all its stupid glory: NOT just a movie.
April 10, 1912→ RMS Titanic sets sail from Southhampton with 2,200 passengers and crew
April 14, 1912→ RMS Titanic strikes an iceberg about 400 miles south of Newfoundland
April 15, 1912→ in the very early hours of the morning (0220), RMS Titanic officially sinks
1,517 lives were lost, most to hypothermia. Of the 700 or so lives saved, the majority were First Class passengers, then Second Class, and a small number from Third Class. The greatest percentage of those saved were women and children. Only about 20% of male passengers aboard the RMS Titanic survived.
You can view a passenger manifest broken down by class by following this link. They've got a wealth of information pertaining to many of the passengers→ photos, where they boarded, their ticket fare, their occupation, and whether or not they were rescued.
My husband and I were fortunate enough to visit the Titanic Exhibition in Las Vegas a few years back. I was a little apprehensive, thinking that this so-called exhibit set where it was on the Vegas strip could end up being a totally disrespectful sideshow. Quite the opposite, actually. Sure there was a gift shop, and sure you could have your picture taken on the Grand Staircase (which we did→ you can see the pic here), but all in all it was very respectful and very informative, in my opinion.
When we entered the exhibit, we were given this information about real Titanic passengers:
Once we reached the end of the exhibit—which had artefacts retrieved from the sunken ship**, more info about the passengers, and a piece of the ship's hull—we found out what happened to the people on our cards. Major Archibald Willingham Butt (left) died in the sinking, and his body was sadly not recovered. Mrs. George Dunton Widener (right) was rescued in Lifeboat 4 and lived until 1937. We didn't even know these people, but I was really anxious to learn what happened to them. I was saddened to hear that one of our passengers hadn't survived. This was not merely a sick sideshow.
100 years later there are still lessons to be learned from this tragedy, as is usually the case with historical events like this. If nothing else, take a moment today to think about the 1,517 lives lost.
P.S. I'm currently reading Fateful by Claudia Gray, a story of the Titanic with a paranormal twist.
P.S.S. Notice how I made no mention of Celine's My Heart Will Go On (until now)? You're welcome.
* This hymn was allegedly the final song played by the RMS Titanic band as it sank into the ocean.
** Some would argue that this is like desecrating a grave. I'm not sure how I feel about it, though.