It’s days like today that I really wish I could draw…

April 10th, 1912 the Titanic set forth on its maiden voyage. The most majestic ship to have ever sailed the sea, and the pinnacle of man’s technological battle against nature. By April 14th, she’d struck a ‘berg and a few hours later on April 15th, she was gone along with 1,517 of the ships crew and passengers. Only 706 people survived, and today, only Millvina Dean remains.

Back in seventh-grade english class, we read a book about the incident called A Night to Remember. It’s actually quite a good book, but what struck me at the time was that there was no redeeming factors to the Titanic story. Sure there was heroism (Lightoller, the orchestra), nobility (the gentlemen dressed in their finest), cowardice (Bruce), gumption (Molly Brown) and even humor (a certain inebriated chef comes to mind), but on the whole, the launching of that ship was a travesty:

  • An unmanned radio room
  • insufficient lifeboats
  • a captain who’d lost the courage to remember who is the ultimate authority on a ship

These were different times, of course, and such a tragedy was inevitable. Man felt he had overcome nature and forgotten that, eventually, nature will win one. In hindsight, it is probably for the best that the tragedy befell the "Unsinkable Titanic" on it’s maiden voyage. Had it been another ship, or had it occurred years into the life of the Titanic, people may not have been quite so shocked. It took that kind of tragedy to change the industry and put safety first with mandated 24-hour radio crews, lifeboat requirements and the formation of the international ice patrol.

However, back in the seventh grade, all we could see was a disaster and waste, so, of course, we joked about it. Notebooks became filled with the growling iceberg and the nervous looking titanic, the bookie and a certain spineless, yellow-bellied jellyfish named Bruce. It became a running gag for years. Wes, on the other hand, was always fascinated by Titanic history, and as far as I know, still is.

Take a brief moment today to remember those long past, and guys…this one is for you!