A legend has many faces. The story of the Titanic reflects in our society today. When the Titanic sunk on April 14th, 1912, there were three ships in the vicinity.
The first one was Samson
She was the closest, being less than ten miles from the sinking Passenger liner. They had seen lanterns of the Titanic and their cry for help. They had also seen the lights dimming out as she was going down. However, they were fishing illegally for Seals in territorial waters. If caught, they could have been prosecuted.
They turned around and fled. While the crew of the Titanic was succumbing to the extreme cold and ruthless waves, they wanted to get as far away as possible.
Some of us are like the Samson. They will run as far away from trouble as possible. They are so concerned about saving their own ends that they seldom care about others. They are often prepared to go to great lengths to ensure small gains, even at the cost of great misery to others. This seems justified to them.
The second ship was the SS Californian
The Californian was about 20 miles from the Titanic at the time. She was surrounded by thick pack ice. The Captain had decided to stop for the night. They tried signalling the Titanic that they had stopped due to thick ice all over.
Throughout the night the second and third officers of the Californian saw distress flares from the Titanic repeatedly. Each officer individually informed Captain Stanley Lord of the Californian, who kept asking them to signal the vessel using Morse lights and wait for an acknowledgement.
Given that The Titanic was sinking, there was no one to see or acknowledge the morse signals. They kept sending out distress flares frantically, each one sighted by the Californian. Captain Lord decided to go to sleep and see if he could do anything in the morning. The Titanic sank at 03:40, leaving 1523 dead. Some of the people died in despair, while watching the lights of a ship not many miles away which simply decided not to approach and save them.
When the Californian master Captain Lord woke up, he decided to tread through the ice and approach, but in vain. The only thing that remained was wreckage.
Some of us are like the Californian. We excuse ourselves thinking that although we have honest intentions, we are bound by circumstances and simply cannot help. We think we shall dive in when the situation is favorable. What we fail to realize, just like Captain Lord of the Californian, is that our best is usually enough, and if we really give it, we can often pull people out of the wreckage.
The last of the ships was the RMS Carpathia
The Carpathia was the farthest at the time, about 58 miles away. Capt Arthur Henry Rostron had picked up the ordeal of the Titanic on radio telephony. He did not wait.
He ordered full sea speed to arrive at the site, while praying for the wellbeing of the Passengers of the Titanic. The ship achieved a top speed which was 3.5-knots higher than the maximum speed ever achieved by her before and arrived on the scene in four hours. The Titanic has remained afloat only for two hours and had sunk before the Carpathia arrived. But it was because of this ship’s valor and courage that 703 passengers and crew were saved that day.
It is said that the Rocket flares which the Carpathia had shot into the sky to let the survivors know that help was coming, greatly assisted in keeping more people alive, who decided not to give up till their last breath.
Being a mariner myself, I know how much that last bit of hope can do to help you survive.
Some are like the Carpathia. There are those who would not think twice before jumping into a problem for others. We see them every day. They would go to great lengths to pull out another person from the pit.
Can we save the Titanic?
When we have a burning issue affecting other people, some run, some hide and some give excuses. These people are like the Samson or the Californian. I personally know many such Samsons and Californians amongst us. No matter how successful they are in life, their story ends when they leave.
The only people who live on after they are gone are the Carpathians like Captain Rostron. Are you one of them?
Featured photo credit: Joseph Barrientos via images.unsplash.com