Titanic's Song: Thoughts on the 105th anniversary of the sinking
105 years ago tonight, the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, approximately 2 hours and forty minutes after colliding with an iceberg.
At the time, 700 of the more than 2,200 passengers and crew were safe in small boats that drifted nearby; however, the rest—some 1,500 people—were suddenly plunged into near-freezing water.
First-class passenger Archibald Gracie described what happened next: “There arose to the sky the most horrible sounds ever heard by mortal man except by those of us who survived this terrible tragedy. The agonizing cries of death from over a thousand throats, the wails and groans of the suffering, the shrieks of the terror-stricken and the awful gaspings of breath of those in the last throes of drowning, none of us will ever forget to our dying day.”
A teenage survivor named Jack Thayer later likened the sound to the roar erupting from a baseball stadium after someone hits a home run.
Second-class passenger, Lawrence Beesley, had this to say: “The cries of the drowning, floating across the quiet sea filled us with stupefaction: we longed to return and rescue at least some of the drowning, but we knew it was impossible. The boat was filled to standing-room, and to return would mean the swamping of us all, and so the captain-stoker told his crew to row away from the cries. We tried to sing to keep all from thinking of them; but there was no heart for singing in the boat at that time.”
Although Beesley suggests the reason the survivors started singing was to try and focus on something else, he neglects to mention the obvious—that singing could also help drown out that other sound.
And one thing I find very interesting is that, as the tale of Titanic got passed down over the years, the story involving music most often associated with the ship was about how the Titanic’s band continued playing heroically on deck till nearly the end. However, I find this one to be all the more haunting, because it speaks to human nature, truth, and the fact that, when it comes to Titanic, it’s wrong to assume that some people were luckier than others. Everyone who stepped aboard that ship was dealt a pretty crappy hand.
RIP, the 1,500+. #Titanic105
Paul Amirault is a television producer, photographer and writer. His first book, The Man Who Sent the SOS: A Memoir of Reincarnation and the Titanic, is now on sale. The book chronicles a 12-year spiritual journey Paul undertook after seeing the sinking of the Titanic during a hypnotic past-life regression.