Since then, as an adult, I feel almost numb to the tragedies around me. It seems every week (or month at least) there is a school shooting claiming lives, teacher abductions, and other moments of utter horror. Despite all of the bad things that result in me not watching the news regularly, I’m saddened that it takes a tragedy of significant loss (like 9/11 or the sinking of the Titanic) to shock me back into humanity. Any amount of life lost is significant and should be justifiably shocking and upsetting.
The Titanic tragedy, made known to me through movies and media of my childhood, was my first experience with “real” tragedy. When I went to the 1997 film I didn’t know that the Titanic actually sailed and sank, it was just a movie. When my dad told me about the story beyond Jack Dawson and I begged him to take me to it again so I could pay better attention. He agreed and I remember thinking – how could this have really happened? I remember crying and thinking why is the world so unfair. Today the exact opposite happens; I see breaking news and horrible misfortune and only flip through the channels saying, “Just another day in the life…”
As an adult, as I said, I’ve grown numb (especially recently) to the tragedies of life but let today remind me – with great horror and injustice comes beauty, new life, and exceptional people.
“At 11.40 pm (ship’s time), lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg immediately ahead of Titanic and alerted the bridge. First Officer William Murdoch ordered the ship to be steered around the obstacle and the engines to be put in reverse, but it was too late; the starboard side of Titanic struck the iceberg, creating a series of holes below the waterline. Five of the ship’s watertight compartments were breached. It soon became clear that the ship was doomed, as she could not survive more than four compartments being flooded. Titanic began sinking bow-first, with water spilling from compartment to compartment as her angle in the water became steeper.
Those aboard Titanic were ill-prepared for such an emergency. The ship’s lifeboats only had enough space to carry about half of those on board; if the ship had carried its full complement, only about a third could have been accommodated in the lifeboats. The crew had not been trained adequately in carrying out an evacuation. The officers did not know how many they could safely put aboard the lifeboats and launched many of them barely half-full. Third-class passengers were largely left to fend for themselves, causing many of them to become trapped below decks as the ship filled with water. A “women and children first” protocol was generally followed for the loading of the lifeboats and most of the male passengers and crew were left aboard.
Two hours and forty minutes after Titanic struck the iceberg, her rate of sinking suddenly increased as her forward deck dipped underwater and the sea poured in through open hatches and grates. As her unsupported stern rose out of the water, exposing the propellers, the ship split apart between the third and fourth funnels due to the immense strain on the keel. The stern remained afloat for a few minutes longer, rising to a nearly vertical angle with hundreds of people still clinging to it. At 2.20 am, it sank, breaking loose from the bow section. The remaining passengers and crew were plunged into lethally cold water with a temperature of only 28 °F (−2 °C). Almost all of those in the water died of hypothermia or cardiac arrest within minutes or drowned. Only 13 of them were helped into the lifeboats though these had room for almost 500 more occupants.
Distress signals were sent by wireless, rockets and lamp, but none of the ships that responded were near enough to reach her before she sank. A nearby ship, the Californian, which was the last to have been in contact with her before the collision, saw her flares but failed to assist. Around 4 am, RMS Carpathia arrived on the scene in response to Titanic‘s earlier distress calls. 710 people survived the disaster and were conveyed by Carpathia to New York, Titanic‘s original destination, while 1,517 people lost their lives.” – Wikipedia