100 Years Ago this week, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on it’s maiden voyage.
The Titanic was the largest, most luxurious ship built by man to date. The Titanic was said to be unsinkable. The builders were so confident in their belief that the ship was safe that they did not even provide enough lifeboats for all of its passengers. As a result, 1514 passengers died on April 15, 1912. Among the dead were some of the wealthiest socialites and businessmen of the early 20th century and many more poor, working class people emigrating from Ireland, England, and other European countries.
I have been fascinated by the sinking of the Titanic my entire life. When James Cameron released his movie in 1997, I must have watched it in the theatre at least 6 or 7 times. I was not there for the romance between Leo’s and Kate’s characters. I was there for one reason and one reason only. To watch the ship sink into the ocean.
I know that sounds horrible, but I have never understood why more people did not leave the ship sooner. The first few lifeboats that launched had maybe a dozen or so women in them. People were so confident that the ship would not sink that they did not take evacuation seriously enough until it was too late. At best, only about half of the occupants would have been saved by the lifeboats. As it was, only about 30% of the passengers were saved.
The fact that James Cameron was able to recreate a semi-realistic representation of what may have happened during the evacuation and subsequent sinking of the Titanic held my imagination captive for a long time.
Unlike the books, movies, and literature that I love to escape to, the sinking of the Titanic was an historic event and each person had a real life story to tell. The sinking affected real lives and is now synonymous with hubris, arrogance, classism, a failure to plan, and the human cost that.
I do not know if I will see Titanic 3D, but I will take the time to remember the Titanic and all of the lives that were lost that fateful night. It may have been 100 years ago, but I think we can all agree, the sinking of the Titanic still has a lot to teach us.