By Keith N Fisher
Today marks an interesting anniversary. One-hundred-years ago at 11:40 PM, RMS Titanic scraped an iceberg. Then, just before 2:20 am, April 15, she broke up and went to the bottom of the ocean. Kind of Ironic that the US Government would pick that day for income taxes.
I can’t explain why, but I’ve always had an affinity for the story. It felt like I was there, somehow, and singing the hymn, Nearer My God to Thee, always made me cry as I thought of how some of those people met death in the icy waters that night.
Coincidentally, I served an LDS mission in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. I passed by the special Cemetery in Halifax, every Sunday on the way to church. I was serving in Newfoundland when DR Robert Ballard found the wreck. I’ve fought against the cold on the shores of the North Atlantic in April and I’ve seen pictures of huge icebergs that floated into Halifax harbor.
Through all of this, I thought I had a firm idea of what it was like to go down with the ship. Then, I saw James Cameron’s movie in nineteen ninety-seven. The terrors those people passed through must’ve been horrendous, then to meet death in the icy water. It’s not surprising that Cameron found inspiration for his movie. Now, with the looming centennial event, more books are being released. The Cameron movie is coming out in 3D. Still, I’m surprised there hasn’t been more written.
While watching some of Ballard’s original footage recently, I came across an image that made me think. Plot lines began to form in my head, but out of respect for the dead I don’t think I’ll talk about it here. Suffice it to say I agree with those who would leave Titanic alone. Make it an underwater museum and stop bringing up pieces. Ballard is right. We have the technology to mount real time cameras down there and peruse the wreck from our home computers.
Anyway, with all the hype about Titanic, I suddenly remembered my grandfather would be one hundred years old now. He was born in January 1912 and was 3 months old when the great ship went down.
I’m grateful to be given a writer’s heart. With it, I’m able to grasp a semblance of the real experience, then put it into words that might someday help you feel it too. When you revisit the Titanic this week, try to ignore the obvious and think of the individual stories of the people who died there. Sing the hymn on Sunday, and remember the other tragedies that happen in our lives.
Good Luck with your writing---see you next week.