A Night to Remember the Titanic

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A Titanic Lifeboat
approaching The Carpathia, a rescue ship, 109 years ago this morning

WPCNR MILESTONES. By John F. Bailey. (Mr. Bailey runs this column every year at this time, and sadly nothing changes) April 14-15, 2021

She began her voyage, four days ago, 109 years ago, April 10, 1912.

She carried over 2,200 passengers and crew and was the largest ocean liner of her time ever built.

They were the rich and famous, the poor and hopeful.

She was guaranteed unsinkable.

Her owners, the White Star Line, wanted to set a new speed record for crossing the Atlantic.

Her captain had been warned the northerly course would take it through an iceberg field.

On April 13, sailing  under a crisp clear,calm starlit sky at 11:40 PM after an evening of partying aboard ship, prior to arrival in New York today, the ship sideswiped an iceberg.

She was the Titanic.

She was the ship of dreams.

Today, she is the ship of nightmares as her hundreds of passengers from all walks of life perished together in the ruthless sea. The cold fateful, unforgiving frigid  indifferent eternity of the sea.

The Titanic’s fate was a lesson that changed maritime laws.

Two and a half hours after the iceberg collision the Titantic sank at 2:20 A.M., early the morning of April 15, (this morning) on that night to remember.

This is an excerpt from  the testimony of a survivor, Emily Maria Borie Ryerson watching from a lifeboat desperately trying to row away from the suction of the sinking ship, at the 1912 U.S. Senate SubCommittee Hearing on the Titanic sinking:

“The order was given to pull away. Then they rowed off—the sailors, the women, anyone – but made little progress; there was a confusion of orders; we rowed toward the stern, someone shouted something about a gangway, and no one seemed to know what to do. Barrels and (deck) chairs were being thrown overboard.

“Then suddenly, when we (in the lifeboat) still seemed very near, we saw the ship was sinking rapidly. I was still in the bow of the boat with my daughter and turned to see the great ship take a plunge toward the bow, the two forward funnels seemed to lean and then she seemed to break in half as if cut with a knife, and as the bow went under, the lights went out; the stern stood up for several minutes, black against the stars, and then that, too, plunged down and there was no sound for what seemed like hours, and then began the cries for help of people  drowning all around us, which seemed to go on forever.”

Dorothy Gibson, the silent screen actress and survivor – from her testimony before the committee—observed from a lifeboat– in an excerpt from her testimony before the same committee, said:

“Suddenly there was a wild coming together of voices from the direction of the ship of the ship and we noticed an unusual commotion among the people huddled about the railing. Then the awful thing happened, the thing that will remain in my memory until the day I die.

The Titanic seemed to lurch slightly more to the side and then the fore. A minute, or probably two minutes, later she sank her nose into the ocean, swayed for a few minutes and disappeared, leaving nothing behind her on the face of the sea but a swirl of water, bobbing heads and lifeboats that were threatened by the suction of the waters.”

The Titanic’s fate was traced to the negligence and reckless disregard of the risk of sailing at 22 knots through an icefield, and 16 lifeboats for 2,200 persons, insufficient number of lifeboats.

In recent years, analysis of the hull plates recovered from the wreck of the ship on the ocean floor indicated a faulty, economical brittle bolt selection in constructing  the hull.

The White Star Line owner J. Bruce Ismay, onboard that night,  callously saved his own life by slipping into a lifeboat.

Ismay in a statement, denied telling the Captain of the Titanic to set a new speed record and denied telling the Captain to increase the ship speed in the ice field region.  Also said he just happened to be near a lifeboat about to be lowered and no more women and children around to board, and that was why he got into the lifeboat.

So much for corporate responsibility and guilt of any kind, even then.

Not much has changed in corporate world over the 109 years since this night and morning to remember.

Industrial moguls continue unaccountable and pay little price for their self-serving decisions which kill thousands with foreknowledge.

“Who knew?” is not an excuse. You knew is the answer.

Steroids. The 737. Opioids. Covid denial. Thalidimide denial. Arms dealing.

Narcotics trade. Concussion damage. Gun dealers. Negligence. Overdoses overlooked.

Crimes against humanity just for profit cannot be condoned when they are created by naive design, gambling everything will be all right, when it creates appalling deaths of thousands of innocents.

Perpetual rationalizations of inhumanities to men and women live on in infamy.

Saying sorry is not enough.

Expressing regrets and and sending thoughts and prayers going out to victims by the decision makers who made the reckless decisions is so easy. It does not absolve.

The atrocities of man’s inhumanity and selfish self aggrandizement to their fellow men and women should never be forgotten.

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