Sunday, April 15, 2012

Titanic Tribute Experience

Last night was the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. It was an honor to be part of this memorial celebration. Mikie had to work so the kids and I took Greta and went for our tour at 4 o'clock. Traffic was horrendous which is typical for Pigeon Forge especially on a Rod Run weekend.
Our family has toured the Titanic in Pigeon Forge before, but this was Greta's first time. She was so excited to be able to attend on this special occasion.

Waiting to board!
We received our boarding pass and listening devices and headed "onto" the ship. Each boarding pass tells the story of a passenger or crew member. We took our time and listened and read everything we saw. The kids were excited to find the people on their boarding passes throughout the museum. Maggie was really excited when she found out that Violet Jessop who was a member of the crew, survived and had written her memoirs, Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of a Stewardess. 

Out of the six of us four survived only Mollie and I didn't make it that night. Once through the tour we shopped in the gift shop where I purchased our picture memorializing our trip on the Titanic on this fateful day.

Then we walked up the street to Salsarita's for dinner. We had never ate at one before and it was a new experience for us. The food was awesome. I was really glad there was no one behind us in line, because Michael had his usual "I don't know what I want," melt down at the counter. The walk through Pigeon Forge was a first for the kids. Yes, I know we used to park and walk all over Sevier County when we were young, but my kids have never experienced it. As I said earlier it was a Rod Run weekend, traffic was bumper to bumper, radio's blaring, people yelling out their windows, and of course the Rod Run must have burnouts right there in the middle of town. Michael was impressed with all the motorcycles. On our way back to the tribute we stopped for a picture.

 We had white tag VIP seats and it was first come seating, so we were six rows back which were really good seats for those of us who didn't have reserved seating. The kids were excited to see what was going to happen. They passed the time taking pictures and video as we waited. 

At 8 o'clock we literally jumped out of our seats as the Titanic blew it's horn and the announcer asked everyone to proceed to their seats. The cold chills were beginning. As dusk ensued, 8:30 approached and Captain EJ Smith began to tell us about that his final voyage as Captain. That trip was to be his last for he was to retire upon his return home. We met the families of many of those who were on the Titanic that night as they were introduced and seated on the front row. 

First Class Maid, Jaynee Peters was the host for the evening, members of the Grandfather Mountain Highlanders stood atop the ship and played their beautiful bagpipes and drums. The Circle Players presented scenes from Titanic the Musical and Sound Company Children's Choir was joined by a children's choir from Switzerland to sing. Allan Wolf author of  The Watch That Ends The Night:Voices from the TITANIC, read an excerpt from his book. Flares were set off as the stress signal was sounded that an iceberg had been struck. Clergy aboard the Titanic were also remembered by Father Joe Brando, Rev. Tom Sterbens who told of Baptist Pastor Robert Bateman and Rabbi Eric Carlson. 

 As the Eternal Flame was lit a young lady from North Carolina sang a beautiful rendition of My Heart Will Go On. A waterfall of fireworks fell from the deck of Titanic and the flame was lit below. The flame will burn 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

A moving tribute to celebrate the lives and death of those who were aboard the Titanic. We were moved, and honored to be able to attend. Maggie even said she hopes she will be able to attend the 200 year anniversary tribute. She would just be 108 then. Michael tried to put the number of years into perspective by reminding me of a special lady at my parent's church who was 2 years old when the Titanic sank. He said I know she wasn't there but do you think she remembers it? He hopes to see her soon so he can ask her.

We ended our evening with a 45 minute departure from the parking lot and a bathroom/snack break at McDonald's. The kids were in bed by midnight and I was not far behind. As I laid down I thought of what those passengers were going through at that particular time, as the panic was starting to set in. I thought of those who are descendants and the stories that have been passed down. I thought of how Easter had fallen on the Sunday before, just as it did this year. How Mikie and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on April 11th the day the Titanic departed from Queensland, Ireland, and of the love of Isidor and Ida Strauss. Mrs. Strauss could have boarded a lifeboat but chose to stay at her husband's side, telling him, "We have lived together for many years, where you go I will go." What love, what true companionship and dedication to her marriage and husband. As I prayed for those who are still touched by this tragedy I began to drift off to sleep with a sadness in my heart that this event took place but happy to have been there.

Disclaimer: This post and opinions are my own. As a Mom Blogger, I was given tickets for the tour and VIP tickets for the tribute in exchange for sharing the Titanic with my readers. Thank you Titanic Museum Attraction!


Erin's A List said...

Thank you so much for coming and sharing this experience with your family.

Wendy said...

Looks like a fun time!

mommyto4mjs said...

We indeed had an awesome time. Thank you for the opportunity Erin. We love the Titanic and can't wait to go back again!