Summary: This looks was preached on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and looks at where we store our treasures
Be Careful with Your Treasures
For those of you who have been living under a rock or in a cave for the past month or so today is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. And because of our Halifax connection most of us are familiar with the story of the Titanic and feel a certain link with the tragedy. And while it is probably the most well-known ship wreck today it is by no means the largest. 1,523 people lost their lives when the Titanic hit the iceberg and sank 100 years ago and while that is a incredible tragedy it pales in comparison to the 9,500 who lost their lives on the Wilhelm Gustloff when it was sunk by the soviets in January of 1945 or even the loss of 4375 lives when the MV Doña Paz collided with an oil tanker in the Philippines and sank in December of 1987.
Others contend that the Titanic was the greatest sea tragedy up to the point in history but on February 06 1822 the ocean going junk Tek Sing hit a reef off of Indonesia and went down with all 200 crew members and 1600 passengers. The SS Sultana was a Mississippi River steamboat paddle wheeler that exploded on April 27, 1865 with a loss of over 1600 lives.
Perhaps it is simply the story of the tragedy, the hype that had gone into promoting the ship as the greatest ship to ever sail the ocean and the fact that it happened on her maiden voyage that makes it so memorable.
A little Titanic trivia for those who are into that type of thing. The ship took three years to build and cost 7,500,000.00 which in today’s dollars would be $400,000,000.00 She was at the time the largest ship ever built, The Titanic was 882 feet and 8 inches long (268 meters) and her gross tonnage was over 46,000 tons, which had nothing to do with her weight and instead was a measurement of her overall internal volume. The ship was approximately 11 stories high. And for 1912 the size of the Titanic was almost unimaginable, but compare her to the Oasis of the Sea today, which is 300 foot longer and her gross tonnage is 225,282 tons. Which is almost 5 times that of the Titanic.
The statement that the Titanic was unsinkable and “Not even God could sink this ship” appear to be just a myth and there are no records of either of those statements having been made before the tragedy.
The cause of the Titanic tragedy has been debated for 10 decades but the reality is she was travelling at high speed and hit and iceberg. Had she been carrying her full complement of lifeboats the death toll would have been far less but executives at White Star felt that the 32 lifeboats recommended made her look too ungainly and used up too much deck space.
For one hundred years there has been speculation about the amount of treasure that was aboard the Titanic when she sank. There have been rumours of Gold and Jewels and we all know about the “Heart of the Ocean” the blue diamond that was featured in the movie. Listen carefully, there was no Rose, there was no Jack and there was no blue diamond, it was just a movie.
With the discovery of the wreckage in 1994 and the subsequent exploration there have always been those who have anticipated the discovery of millions of dollars in treasure. But apparently that wasn’t the reality. According to the cargo manifests there was no treasure aboard the Titanic, it was a passenger ship and carried minimal cargo and what she did carry was just every day stuff.
This morning I want to tell you about two men who sailed and died on the Titanic that day.
Now even though the Titanic wasn’t carrying a cargo of gold that is not to say that there weren’t several personal fortunes aboard, the list of first class passengers read like a “Who’s who” of 1912. Business men, owners of companies, movie actresses and the like. It was the greatest ship to ever sail the ocean, her owner “The White Star Line” had made sure the entire world knew what a privilege it would be to sail on the Maiden Voyage of the Titanic. The first class passengers included some of the most prominent members of the American social elite.
The list included industrialist Benjamin Guggenheim; Macy's department store owner Isidor Straus and his wife Ida;( a little side note, it is reported that when the crew tried to get Ida to board a life boat she refused to leave her husband’s side saying “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.” There was George Dennick Wick, the founder and president of Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company; streetcar magnate George Dunton Widener; Pennsylvania Railroad executive John Thayer, Charles Hays who was president of Canada's Grand Trunk Railway and we shouldn’t forget George Wright, a developer from Halifax.