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Cynthia Bragg

Titanic - The Halifax Connection

by Cynthia Bragg, on Tue, 13 Mar 2012 | 1 comment

Last year, on the 99th anniversary of the Titanic disaster I stayed up half the night to witness a very interesting event on Twitter.  At 11:55 p.m. AST on April 14, Nova Scotia Museums began to tweet out the distress signals sent from the Titanic in real time. Many of us stayed up until 2:30 p.m. AST tweeting about it. It was haunting, and eerie and unmistakably emotional. But it was also educational. All of us know about the tragedy, but I had never before seen how hard they worked to try and get help. Knowing what was happening in those last moments and while simultaneously watching those last tweets come in was an experience I will hold for a long time. Very impacting. This was wireless communication in 1912, being shared through wireless communication in 2011, nearly 100 years later. In some ways the method of communication has changed, but the way we communicate has not.  And one thing will always remain constant - courage amongst tragedy and despair, and the human capacity to feel empathy and sympathy even 99 years after an event has passed.

The Halifax connection to the Titanic is profound, as any city's would be, being part of the recovery effort of a major disaster. Two ships were dispatched by the White Star Line to search for the victims of the Titanic. Many of the victims had to be buried at sea, but 150 of the unclaimed victims were laid to rest in Halifax. I can only imagine how the citizens of Halifax must have felt at the time, their thoughts with all the families who were unable to bring their loved ones home to rest.

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Those who will be in Halifax may wish to pay tribute at some of the events. There will be a Spiritual Ceremony at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery on April 15.   Since Halifax has become final of the resting place of many of the victims, many people have visited the cemeteries in years since. Often flowers and trinkets can be found at the grave of the unknown child representing all the children who were lost. People have also been known to lay flowers at the grave of J. Dawson. Though Jack Dawson was a fictional character in the Hollywood movie Titanic, the real life J. Dawson has come to represent the relationships and the love that was lost. Laying flowers at his grave has been a way for people to pay tribute to that loss.

On the eve of disaster, there will be a Gathering leading candlelit procession to Grand Parade passing some of the Titanic landmarks along the way. From there, The Night of the Bells will take place, an event in Grand Parade Square to honour our connection to the Titanic with performances to tell the story and interpretive presentations. A moment of silence will be held at 12:20 am when the Titanic struck the iceburg and flares will be set to symbolize the call for help.

We can also expect a Titanic tribute at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo this summer. From my experience with the Tattoo, this promises to be a very touching event.

Be sure to visit the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic for the Titanic Exhibit, which has one of the finest collections of wooden artifacts in the world.

Model of the Titanic on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax.jpgIf you would like to learn more about some of the events planned visit the Titanic Events listings on novascotia.com. If you would like to participate in the Twitter event follow the hashtag #nsmma.  Nova Scotia Archives (@NS_Archives) will also be sharing diaries from Haligonians from the time period. Follow the hashtag #Titanicnsa to read their tweets.


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    by anonymous on, April 19, 2012 11:15 AM

    Big crowds on the street the bustling ,supra who alone such as dust the passing instantly submerged sea of ​​humanity seen the the trail feasting at the the peacefulness Square who is sadly to retreat rain breeze the the Shuangda Akiba who proudly smile Gean view of the bustling shore with sleep cicada secluded natural sigh cry cry from the ancient to the prehistoric shaking from the rough countercurrent life of the chest I do not fame the the fortune I want the hearts of Enron and leisurely lonely without the lonely cultural rivers Qin Yun soul dry struck a soul the depths slightest tremble the heartstrings cries calling calling tomorrow's sun