The Titanic, with over three million rivets securing the two thousand plates forming its hull, struck an iceberg at 11:40 p.m. on April 14, 1912. It sank in less than three hours, creating a terrible arithmetic of loss.
With passengers ranging from first-class millionaires to third-class immigrants, Titanic’s history and symbolism and the story’s continuing appeal revolve around a strong mixture of romance and tragedy, history and fate.
A maiden voyage, stylish clothes, different social classes, the band playing and then drama that still lingers today. How could a capricious iceberg, lying in wait in the dark Atlantic, doom the world’s largest ship?
Luise Gretchen Kink was only four years old when her parents decided to immigrate to Milwaukee, Wis. The family managed to board a lifeboat. However, she suffered traumatic amnesia about the event the rest of her life. Her daughter, Joan Randall, was a guest speaker on the anniversary cruise.
The ripples of Titanic run deep for William, Robert and Peggy Bateman Binden. Their grandfather and great-grandfather, Reverend Robert J. Bateman, was picked up from the sea, identified and later buried in Jacksonville, Fla.
After seeing the movie, Maya Mougey from Dublin, Ohio, got hooked on the irresistible ship. She embraces her favorite passenger and legendary character, the unsinkable Margaret 'Molly’ Brown.
Lesley Smith, who was born in Southampton, England, holds a brass plaque presented to her great-grandfather, J. Euves, an electrician who installed power on the ship. It conveys words from Captain Smith, assuring passengers of a safe and pleasurable trip.
During the anniversary cruise, passengers enjoyed lectures on Titanic history. Many women dressed in period costumes, including furs and feathered hats. Everyone enjoyed a formal dinner recreating the last meal served aboard the ill-fated ship.
Folks on the anniversary cruise sported a variety of costumes from a century ago. Men donned tuxedos and bowler hats, while others were decked out as crew members, steerage passengers and stewards employed for the voyage that journeyed into history.
As a young child, Christie Seyglinski, of Robbinsville, N.J., read stories of the Titanic. Later, she corresponded with Millvina Dean and received signed photos from the last and youngest survivor of the disaster.
With a blast of a shrilling whistle, followed by hymns and a prayer service, passengers and crew of the Azamara Journey gathered on deck at 2:20 a.m., the exact time and over the exact location where Titanic, now nearly 2½ miles below the surface, sent more than 1,500 people to a watery grave.
After reading the names of those who perished and casting two floral wreaths into the sea, a shipboard band struck up “Nearer My God To Thee,” one of the final tunes that was played as the ship went down.
A cruise stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia, included Fairview Lawn Cemetery where 121 victims of the disaster were interred by White Star Line, which paid for one size of stone. The owning company fashioned a curve in the fourth row of gravestones to create the effect of the bow of a ship.
Titanic exhibitions draw huge crowds that view artifacts from the wreck, including bottles of perfume, porcelain dishes, portholes and a 17-foot piece of hull. These leather shoes may be from recovered body No. 4, the “Unknown Child,” who was recently identified as Sidney Leslie Goodwin.
There were 113 children, ages 13 and younger, on board the vessel—53 of whom were lost. Only one child in first or second class perished in the sinking, while three out of 12 dogs survived.
The Titanic victims, who passed into myths, have launched a library full of books, enough film to cross the Atlantic Ocean three times over, 97 million Web pages and a burgeoning tourist industry.
Titanic, a fateful voyage that became a cry of ages submerged in time. How could a giant, chunk of ice that formed from snow 10,000 years ago down a ship that was declared unsinkable? The truth, even in another 100 years, may always be riveted in mystery.
Stuff of legends…Photojournalist Harlen Persinger chronicles his lifetime interest in the RMS Titanic by participating in the 100th anniversary voyage that marked the world’s most famous maritime disaster.
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