Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TITANIC EXPEDITION - 100 Year Memorial

I have traced my interest in "all things Titanic" to the old television series called "Sea Hunt", starring Lloyd bridges, that was popular in the 1960's. That television show influenced my goal of learning to scuba dive. My fascination with earning "badges", prompted me to take a specialty scuba diving course called "Wreck Diver". While taking the PADI Wreck Diver course, there was quite a lot of discussion about the Titanic ship wreck, and probably each of us amateur divers imagined ourselves as explorers of this historical artifact buried deep in the ocean.
Since April 15, 2012, marks 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic, there are numerous special events going on this spring, in the U.S., Great Britain, and Canada to commemorate the occasion.
This photo is a reminder to let readers know that even though the motel across the street from the Titanic Museum in Branson was damaged by the tornado that swept through that town last month, the Titanic Museum there is in full operation.
This photo of the front of the two-story permanent Titanic Museum in Branson illustrates how the architect has designed the museum to give visitors, aka "passengers" the feeling they are actually boarding a ship when they enter.
There is even a feeling of movement as the bow pierces the water near the "boarding gate". This is a much more elaborate setup than the first Titanic museum exhibit I attended to see a showing of items recovered from its shipwreck site. That was back in the 1990's when Titanic artifacts were part of a temporary exhibit held in conjunction with the "Memphis in May" activities in Tennessee. However, the state of Tennessee can now boast of having a permanent Titanic Museum, built much like the one in Branson, in the popular vacation town of Pigeon Forge. Although I have driven by the Pigeon Forge location, I have not been able to tour it yet, and look forward to doing so in the future.
The ticketing area for the museum has the look and feel of a cruise ship terminal, and is located at the ground floor level of the museum.
While visitors Que up in the "boarding area" a crew member (dressed in appropriate shipboard attire) gives them a brief orientation and distributes the individual audio recorded devices to hang around your neck, which will guide you through the museum. (You can see them hanging in the cabinet pictured.) You will also receive a printed, souvenir ticket with the name of one of the actual 1912 passengers on board the ship. During one of my museum visits, I learned that someone with the same last name as some of my ancestors, had been on board the Titanic AND they had survived! Of course, this set off a frenzy of activity to see if I was related to the Parrish passenger, who did not perish!
I convinced this handsome crew member to let me take a photo of him. When I called him "Captain", he had to give me a navy lesson on how many stripes were on his uniform, which were not enough to earn the title of Captain!
The first time I visited the Titanic Museum in Branson, shortly after it opened, I had spent so much time enjoying the hundreds of exhibits, that I did not have enough time to thoroughly enjoy all the gift shop had to offer. Fortunately, the gift shop is always open to the public when the museum is open, and one can return to the gift shop as often as desired to make purchases, without having to buy a museum ticket each time.
The gift shop sells souvenirs of every possible kind, including clothing with the Titanic/White Star Line logo.
Since the gift shop is located at the base of the Grand Staircase, you will also be able to visualize the staircase as the location for your very own photo memory, such as a wedding or vows renewal ceremony. Check out there website at www.TitanicBranson.com for more information.
Although some passengers survived the Titanic disaster, many did not. There was a massive rescue and recovery effort, headquartered in nearby Nova Scotia, where a stadium used for the ice skating game of curling, was turned into a temporary morgue for victims.
A few years ago, when touring Halifax, Nova Scotia, in Eastern Canada, our guide took us to one of the cemeteries in that city where the majority of recovered victims --- 121 bodies --- were buried. Most of them have small gray granite markers with the name and date of death.
Some families paid for larger markers with more inscription.
This victim was still a teenager when he died.
This tombstone for "The Unknown Child" was paid for with funds provided by sailors of the cable ship that recovered his body, since no one claimed the body.
This gravestone gained brief fame following the release of the 1997 film Titanic , since the name of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in the film was Jack Dawson. Many filmgoers, moved by the story, left flowers and ticket stubs at Dawson's grave when the film was first released. I was greatly moved, not only by the movie, but by the way a seminar speaker (Ron Hutchcraft) used the story of the Titanic to convict me of shortcomings in my own life. The speaker pointed out how many of the lifeboats carrying survivors of the wreck were not completely full. In other words, those who had been rescued did not go back to rescue more, even though there was space in the lifeboat. We may see this as a heinous crime, but the speaker pointed out how we as Christians are guilty of the same "crime". We have been "rescued" through our profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but we do not try to "rescue" others who are still out there in the darkness. We just stay content in the safety of our own "boat of salvation". When preparing to write this blog post, I went to that speaker's website, www.hutchcraft.com and noted that he had several parables related to the Titanic that he has used on his daily radio broadcasts. Colossians 1:13 from The Message says "God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He's set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating." The 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is a good time to remember that WE, as Christians, are called to be "rescuers" of the perishing. Who will you rescue today??? Miles of "life-saving" smiles ! Tricia
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