Sunday, April 15, 2012

In Remembrance through tears, thoughts and silence

The Memorial Service- a few thoughts

As the planned services approached, I paused to say a prayer and give thanks that we have reached this point in our journey.  In our case, it was over 2 ½ years in the planning, preparation, and travel.  What a tremendous opportunity and privilege to be here for the 100TH Anniversary Titanic Memorial Service.  I took a moment to reflect back on that fatal night where so many people perished in the sinking of the Titanic.  My thoughts were on the families and friends connected to the perished, and to all survivors that had needed strength to move on with their lives after such a tragedy.  I also paid my respects on behalf of all the volunteers and staff from The Molly Brown House Museum, who have over the many years believed in her and continue to tell her story.  I also contemplated on the passion and strength Margaret had to help others on that fatal night.

We arrived right on schedule at the site of the sinking and saw one other passenger ship in the area.  Then, at the exact moment of hitting the iceberg, our ship’s whistle sounded and we observed 2 minutes of silence.  We remembered all of those that lost their lives that night with a tribute name roll call on the ship TV network.   It was so very sad.  The names kept going and going one after another – 1,503 soles lost – so many different decisions could have prevented or reduced the magnitude of this disaster. This brought the sinking into a real life perspective, and I felt there was probably not a dry eye on the ship. 

The memorial services commenced at 1:00am shortly after reading the names.  Services were held simultaneously in 2 locations for all 1,309 passengers.  They were led by Revd. Canon Huw Mosford and Commodore Ronal W. Warwick.    After the services, as we lined up to leave the ceremony, all that could be heard was the silent somber mood.  We re-convened on the stern with the White Star Line flag flying on the stern mast.  At 2:15 am with the passengers filling the 4 levels of the ship encircling the fantail, the service to bless the 3 memorial wreaths began.  After the blessing, at 2:20 am, exactly the time Titanic sankbeneath the surface 100 years ago, the ship’s whistle sounded, and the wreaths were cast into the sea.  
At this moment, we were a very subdued group of mourners, and all must have felt a multitude of deep emotions for the gravity of the moment, especially knowing the Titanic graveyard lay 2 ½ miles directly beneath us.  We felt honored to be among the participants in this well organized and somber service.  It was a once in a lifetime event.  As the other ship floated nearby, we could only imagine that their thoughts and sadness of the events 100 years ago paralleled ours.

The service concluded with the song that is said to have been played by the Titanic band during the sinking “Nearer my God to Thee”. 
Even though Titanic wasn’t physically “unsinkable”, it feels as if her spirit is truly “unsinkable”.  So many people remember her and her legacy after 100 years ……

Having followed the path of Titanic, and paid our respects at the site of the tragedy, we now pursue the paths of the aftermath in our "ship of remembrance" to Halifax and New York.  At this point, Margaret was in Life Boat #6 100 years ago, and her experiences after the disaster will follow.


  1. I have goosebumps reading about your experiences. Thank you for sharing them.

  2. You really bring Molly and the Titanic to life dear friend. Martin...

  3. Dear Janet and Fellow Travelers,
    The singular most important part of the tragedy is the loss of life, the most sad, the most atonishing, the most shocking. I am so proud of all of you for going to such great efforts to pay respect to those who perished, to be there at the site, to feel the tears and heartbreak of loss, to memorialize and remember those who suffered in death, to be there for them. Thank you. My heart especially goes out the decendants who lost loved ones, whose pain must be most keenly felt, to be there on the same spot, at the same place. I am sorry for their loss.

    Nancy in Denver
    Nancy in Denver.