Thursday, April 12, 2012

Titanic Down: A Town Highly Affected

The news is saturated with Titanic stories. Maybe you felt like you have heard enough about the Titanic and its icy burial. I thought the same until I heard a public television channel documentary about the Titanic. What struck me was the different twist the host took on the story. His telling of how Southampton, England was affected by the sinking of the Titanic floored me. I began to listen intently.

Len Goodman's Titanic's Enduring Legacy can be watched in its entirety HERE.

Did you know that 80% of Titanic's crew came from the humble town of Southampton, a major shipping port, and a majority of them never returned? In 1912, the population of Southampton was nearly 120,000. There were high expectations for the booming port city. The advent of a luxury passenger cruise ship only heightened the euphoria. Things looked very promising. A quote from a local newspaper on the eve of Titanic's first and last voyage:

"The coming of Titanic...has a special significance. It sets the seal once again upon the future of Southampton as nothing, humanly speaking, can arrest the progress of the port."
(Daily Echo, March 27, 1912)

Of the more than 1500 that perished on the Titanic in 1912, five hundred and fifty of them were crew members from the city of Southampton. One article classified it as The City that Lost a Generation.

It struck me hard to think about that town, once full of promise of economic growth, but more than that, hope of families, better lives, happier times. All of that crushed by one iceberg, the fragility of an "unsinkable" ship, and the words bellowed over the loud speakers that fateful night: "Women and children into the life boats." A generation of men frozen in time in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

Our lives truly are vapors. And in the midst of crushing disaster and inconceivable loss, the only HOPE then, now, and forever lies in Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life in Heaven: a place that death and disaster will not touch.

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces HOPE. And hope does not put to sham, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." 
(Romans 5:3-5)