15 Apr 2012

Titanic Centenary

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RMS Titanic at the dock at Southhampton, April 5, 1912

Smithsonian describes the history of the world’s obsession with the Titanic disaster.

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In Washington, the GW Hatchet reports a group of elite members of the national media gather to honor and remember the courage and sacrifice of the men aboard the Titanic.

The group holds a formal black tie dinner replicating the last meal aboard the Titanic at the National Press Club, after which they adjourn to the Titanic Memorial, an 18-foot granite sculpture standing beside the Washington Channel, where a liveried waiter passes out champagne in custom-made Orrefors crystal flutes for the annual toast. A bell is rung three times to commence the solemn ceremony. The society toast, delivered annually since 1931, goes:

“With no hesi­ta­tion, no demur, men to whom life was as precious as to you or to me accepted the likelihood of a speedy death. All the vain distinction of class and creed and race were forgotten. Magnate and deckhand, millionaire and stoker, railway executive and steward, capitalist and cabin boy alike conquered the primitive instinct to fight for life and joined in sacrifice. Insofar as the sacrifice of the men we here commemorate shall have lessened the perils of the sea, they will not have died in vain. Nobler will be their reward if they have helped to teach us how to live and how to die.”

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