The legend of the Titanic lives on

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Titanic Centenary

Last picture of the RMS Titanic as she sailed out of harbour on April 10, 1912

April 15, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking

I will be in Halifax attending the special anniversary events and blogging

Everyone knows the story. The RMS Titanic was the biggest and most opulent ocean liner ever built. It was deemed to be an unsinkable, floating pleasure palace that attracted the attention of the media, the public and the wealthy, who paid more than $4,000 (equal now to $95,000) to enjoy the luxuries of the first class cabin. On her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City, she sank several hours after hitting an iceberg about 600 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland.

Though the Titanic boasted every convenience and amenity — including gymnasiums, a Turkish bath, swimming pools and an astounding amount of silverware — there were only enough lifeboats aboard to save about one-third of the passengers.

Approximately 1,500 souls perished in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912 — stranded in the dark, frigidly cold waters of the north Atlantic; dying a lonely, agonizing death. The 706 people in the nearby lifeboats — who were unsure of their own fate — were haunted for the rest of their lives by the sounds of the great ship’s boilers exploding and the pitiful cries of the doomed passengers and crew members as they died.

Follow me in Halifax for the Titanic anniversary

Many people who are not personally connected to the tragedy, nevertheless also feel haunted by the sinking of the Titanic. Though I am not a “Titaniac,” I have had a life-long fascination with the disaster. As a consequence, I am planning to be in Halifax, Nova Scotia — North America’s only officially designated Titanic city — for the anniversary events on April 13, 14 and 15, 2012. I will be reporting for and blogging and tweeting about the event, so be sure to follow me at @breathedreamgo on Twitter and the hashtag #VacayTitanic. Read more to find out about the events I will be attending and reporting from. And to find out why I am fascinated by this story, see my blog The Titanic and what it means.

The recovery and rescue operation following the sinking of the Titanic was launched from Halifax, and the city is home to many Titanic-related sites, including a permanent exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the grave sites of 150 victims. The name of the character Leonardo diCaprio plays in the Titanic movie, Jack Dawson, was inspired by a gravestone for J. Dawson — an Irish coal trimmer named Joseph Dawson who went down with the ship — in one of the Halifax Titanic cemeteries.

The city of Halifax has a lot of events planned to commemorative this tragic chapter in history and you can find out more by visiting their website at Destination Halifax.

On the weekend of April 13-15, I am planning to:

  • stay at the Westin Nova Scotian
  • tour the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which houses a permanent Titanic exhibit
  • visit the Nova Scotia Archives
  • tour the Bedford Institute of Oceanography
  • have dinner based on a Titanic first-class menu at Five Fishermen and Press Gang
  • attend the Night of the Bells ceremony at the Maritime Museum on the evening of April 14
  • join a candle-lit procession along the waterfront and observe a moment of silence at 12:20 a.m., when the Titanic began to sink (flares will be set off to symbolize the ship’s call for help)
  • attend a Spiritual Ceremony on April 15 at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where many Titanic victims are buried

I will be publishing a blog with a collection of links, Twitter feeds and hashtags all about the Titanic, and updating it. And a blog about my personal connections with the Titanic. So stay tuned, and follow along.

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9 Responses to The legend of the Titanic lives on

  1. icyhighs March 23, 2012 at 1:55 am #

    I know this is meant to be a ”celebration of life” or whatever, but I attended a similar thing in Singapore – where they recreated the interior of the Titanic, apparently with real artifacts rescued from the wreck – and I couldn’t help thinking the whole thing was just creepy and catering to some sort of retro-necrophilia. The deaths were a tragedy, the ship was magnificent, now let’s leave it the hell alone. You wouldn’t attend an Aushwitz or Bubonic plague recreation, so why a shipwreck, you know?

  2. Mariellen March 23, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Hello icyhighs, this commemoration in Halifax is not a recreation at all; it marks a significant passage in the history of a small port city that played an important role in a major world event. They are not doing it for entertainment; it is an important human need to remember and commemorate. If you are from India, or anywhere in Asia, you will know how significant it is to honour relatives who have passed away every year on the anniversary.

    Very different from what you experienced in Singapore.

    And they do actually have commemorations at places like Auschwitz; there was a big one ont he 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camp, and from what I understand it was very moving.

    There is a universal aspect to these larger-than-life tragedies that speak to the mystery of life and death that we all grapple with; that is why we are fascinated. Where the mind, heart and soul finds fascination, there we will be thrust into the very essence of life.

  3. Sam March 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    I’d like to go. I had a great time when I last visited Halifax although I didn’t get to see any of the Titanic stuff. Sadly it’s probably not going to happen for me but hope it’s memorable for you.

  4. icyhighs April 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Hi Mariellen,

    I owe you an apology – read your posts, and your reply here and you’re right of course.
    The thing in Singapore really did piss me off though – they were basically making money off a huge tragedy by charging ppl to attend a re-creation, I just thought it was a sordid state of affairs. There wasn’t even an emphasis on the historical aspects – just “remember jack & rose? yeah they died in this thing. and you can watch it again in 3d in a few weeks.” you know?
    Rant over. Have fun and keep writing.


  5. Mariellen April 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    I get why you feel that way about the Singapore exhibit. I am sure I would feel the same! I can’t believe that people find tragedy entertaining. Perhaps, like all those people on Twitter, they didn’t know it was a real event.


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