Except for those trekking in remote jungles, surely everyone must by now be aware that 15 April 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  The ship left Southampton on 10 April 1912, making a few stops on the way before its maiden voyage to New York City.  The ship hit an iceberg at close to midnight on 14 April and sank in the frigid North Atlantic Ocean a couple of hours later, on 15 April.  The Titanic was the largest ship in the world at the time and believed and even declared unsinkable.  Despite this, the impossible occurred.

Other than avid ‘Titanoraks’ many people are Titanicked-out with all the media coverage of the anniversary.   Many young people have admitted on social media sites that they had no idea this was a real ship or real event, having believed it was just a Hollywood movie starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio.

One interesting fact picked up among all the media reports was that insurance settlements were neither offered nor made to any of the survivors.  In fact, according to some reports, immediately after the ship hit the iceberg orders were given to fire crew members.  It appears that management of the White Star Line had hearts colder than icebergs, as they later sent a bill for the cost of uniforms and supplies to the families of deceased crew members!

More than 1500 lives were lost.  Perhaps the worst part is that the tragedy occurred at close to midnight and the ship took more than two long hours to sink in the darkness.   Stories of the Titanic and the horror endured by those onboard will no doubt continue to fascinate and send shivers down our spines for years to come. The terror experienced by those onboard can only be imagined.  Many of the passengers were emigrants hoping to start a new life in America and those who did not lose their lives certainly lost all their possessions.  Many had to rely on charity to rebuild their lives.  Stories of the cowardice of some of the First Class and privileged onboard resonate with us today…

The MS Balmoral traced the Titanic’s doomed route to hold a memorial service at the exact spot and exact time of the sinking.  This has been a time of remembrance, education, and perhaps healing for the relatives and descendants of those who were lost.  The Titanic’s 100th anniversary has certainly been a reality check for those who thought the Titanic was just a movie.  Our hearts will go on….

Flickr cc: natalielucier (Iceberg in Newfoundland)

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