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Remembering the Titanic: 100 years later

Throughout the day on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic received iceberg warnings as it traveled the north Atlantic Ocean. At 11:40 p.m., ship lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg dead ahead. Shortly thereafter, the Titanic collided with the iceberg on the starboard side of her bow. Afterwards, it only took about 10 minutes for the water in the front of the ship to reach 14 feet.

At 2:18 a.m. on April 15, the Titanic broke in half. The bow sank as the stern began to fill with water. It tilted its end high before sinking into the ocean at 2:20 a.m.

Many of the people aboard this "unsinkable" vessel showed courage so great that most humans today cannot even dream of it. One group in particular is often recalled when such bravery comes to mind: the ship's band.

They normally performed separately, but on the night of the sinking, the two groups of musicians met in the first class lounge. As the other passengers tried to pile into the few available lifeboats, these eight men played until the very end. No one can be certain of the last song they played because all were lost, but what is more important than the song is that they did not stop their serenade to the distraught vessel until they could play no more. It is people like the Titanic's orchestra who we must remember because even in the face of great peril, they showed no distress.

These musicians were not the only remarkable people aboard the Titanic, though. One first class passenger was the "Unsinkable" Molly Brown, who received her nickname for her actions after the sinking. Before being forced into a lifeboat herself, she helped others evacuate. Then, she took control of the lifeboat she was on and kept the women aboard it rowing for seven hours until they were rescued by the Carpathia.

Also aboard was the millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim. Just like the band, Guggenheim did not even attempt to save himself. He and his manservant helped other passengers onto the lifeboats, then put on their best clothes and awaited the end. "We've dressed up in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen," he is said to have remarked.

People like these deserve the recognition they have received, but we must never forget those who were lost. When the Titanic sank of April 15, 1912, there were 2,224 people aboard -- 1,517 of whom died. These were 130 first-class passengers, 166 second-class passengers, 536 third-class passengers and 685 crewmembers.

Let us remember the lives that were lost on this dark day in history. Let us not show sadness for these men and women, but respect them for the pain, sadness and sacrifice they had to endure. Let us forever hold them in our memory.


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