The recent 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking created new interest in the event. Along with the anniversary has come new media regarding the Titanic. I would like to direct your attention to a few such items. First is the trailer for a new documentary and second is an article about the night Titanic sank.
LESSONS in CHARACTER — Published in the April-May 2012 edition of Trak Digital Plus by God’s World News.
In ordinary circumstances, it’s easy to appear unselfish, brave or kind. But when people are in a crisis, they often show their true colors. On the night Titanic sank, those on board the sinking ship revealed their moral fiber, creating lessons in character — both good and bad — that have fascinated the world ever since.
At 12:10 a.m., Captain Smith appeared in the wireless room. He told operators Harold Bride and Jack Phillips to send distress calls including Titanic’s location. For nearly two hours, the men tapped at the keys, hoping to alert a ship near enough to save those on board. Shortly before Titanic sank, the Captain returned. “Men, you have done your duty,” he told them. “You can do no more.” Still, Phillips stayed a few minutes longer, tapping away at the keys, desperately calling for help.
Molly Brown was in Lifeboat Number 6, where Quartermaster Hichens was in charge. Brown insisted that Hichens should let a woman steer so that he could help row. He refused, damaging morale by saying it would be days before they were rescued. Brown picked up an oar and began to row anyway, encouraging other women to join her. This helped buoyed spirits and kept the rowers warm in the frigid weather. Even when Carpathia arrived, Hichens said it was there only to retrieve dead bodies. Brown threatened to throw him overboard and ordered those rowing to head for the rescue ship. On board Carpathia she raised $10,000 to help other passengers. Upon their arrival in New York, she made sure survivors got medical care if needed.
Like Bride and Phillips, most crew members stayed calm and continued their duties. Some were boys as young as 14. Of the 895 crew members, only 214 survived. Engineers stayed in the depths of the ship, keeping power on till moments before the ship sank. The ship’s musicians gathered on the deck to play songs to calm and cheer the passengers. Those in the lifeboats remember hearing music right up until the ship sank. Most believed that their final song was, “Nearer my God to Thee.”
Only two lifeboats returned to pick up survivors. One was manned by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe. Lowe was determined to save people in the water. Though his boat was full, he transferred his 55 passengers into four partially filled lifeboats, then went back to save the drowning.
Many women refused to leave their husbands behind. Isidor Straus, a founder of Macy’s Department Store, was returning from Germany with his wife. The elderly couple was offered a place in a lifeboat, but Mr. Straus refused, not wanting to take a spot from women and children. His wife had already stepped into the boat, but she stepped back out, saying, “Where you go, I go.” The two sat on deck chairs and waited calmly for the end.
As soon as the captain of Carpathia learned Titanic had hit an iceberg, he sprung into action. At 58 miles away, he knew that he couldn’t arrive before the great ship sank. Even so, he pushed his chief engineer to go as fast as possible. As they headed toward the wreck, he prepared the ship’s dining room for those who might be injured. He readied ladders and slings to pull survivors aboard. When they reached iceberg-filled seas, he added extra lookouts but kept full steam ahead. His courageous rescue operation no doubt saved the lives of many passengers who wouldn’t have survived much longer in the freezing temperatures.
Quartermaster Robert Hichens, who had been at the wheel when Titanic struck the iceberg, was assigned to Lifeboat Number 6. When the great ship sank, and the women began hearing screams, they insisted that he go back to save the drowning. He refused, saying, “It’s our life now, not theirs.” Later, he refused again, saying that all they would find is a bunch of “stiffs.” He spent the night swearing at the boat’s occupants, saying it would be days before they were rescued.
Lifeboat Number 2 had only 12 people on board. Seven were crew members. When one asked whether they should go back to save those in the water, a first-class passenger, Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon said that they might be swamped by too many survivors. Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon said he would pay the crew five pounds each when they reached the Carpathia. Many people believe the money he offered was a bribe to keep the crew from returning to save the drowning.
Titanic Remembered : article by Isaac Botkin