It was called unsinkable but it defied the odds and went down on its maiden voyage. The luxury boat’s owners, White Star Lines, called it the “biggest, safest ship ever built”. April 15th 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic in the icy waters off Newfoundland. Late in the night of April 14th, the ultimate luxury liner of her day hit an iceberg and began to founder. By the next day, it was in its watery grave where it still rests. It was the biggest maritime tragedy ever at the time and one of the biggest in history. The ship carried over 2,200 passengers and crew; there were 753 survivors and 1503 victims; only 323 were recovered.
This disaster still speaks to people a century later. Commemorations are planned in some key places in the ship’s history. They are: Belfast, Northern Ireland where the Titanic was built; Southampton England, the place where the voyage began; Cobh (then called Queenstown) in Cork, Ireland, the last port of call and New York City, the original destination and where the RMS Carpathia brought the survivors. Some of the events scheduled in these cities and more on can be found on Titanic Stories. Denver, Colorado, home to the outrageous and unsinkable Molly Brown, has events planned as do other US cities.
Halifax, Nova Scotia had the grimmest task of all; recovered bodies from the ship were brought here. The one hundred and fifty that were unclaimed were laid to rest here. The city has planned many Titanic events from March 25th through July 8, 2012 to commemorate this tragic event. The three main ones take place on the eve and day of the Titanic going down.
The Gathering: On April 14th, the night the Titanic hit the iceberg, people will gather at the waterfront side of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at 7:30pm for a candle-lit procession. The route from the museum to the Grand Parade will pass Titanic-related landmarks that are along the way.
Titanic Eve Night: of the Bells At 9:30pm, following The Gathering, there’s an event at the Grand Parade honoring Nova Scotia’s connection to the Titanic. Stories of the passengers, the ship’s sinking and the Halifax-based recovery efforts will be told through interpretive presentations and live performances. At 12:20am, the time the Titanic began to sink, there will be a moment of silence followed by the setting off of flares symbolizing the ship’s call for help.
Titanic Spiritual Ceremony: On April 15th, the day the Titanic went down, there’s an interfaith memorial service planned from 3 to 4:30pm. Taking place at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery where 121 Titanic victims are buried, it honors all the people who lost their lives in the maritime tragedy. There will be a wreath-laying and musical performances.
If you can’t join one of the many April 15th events and you want to honor the passengers who went down with the unsinkable Titanic, have your own personal minute of silence at 12:21am Atlantic Time. A hundred years later, this event is still a compelling one.
For more on the Titanic events, check out Irish Fireside.