Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Passing of Living History ...

It's a phenomenon as old as life and death, and time itself. I always get a strange feeling when the last survivor of a moment in history - a living piece of that history - passes away.

It doesn't matter how well and how thoroughly that moment in history was documented. It was different to be able to meet someone 'who was there.' In my lifetime, we've seen it happen with the American Civil War, and World War I ... and, someday, we'll see it with World War II, as well.

LONDON, ENGLAND (AP) - The Titanic International Society says Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the sinking of the Titanic has died in her sleep. Dean was just over two months old when the Titanic hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, 1912, sinking less than three hours later.
CLICK HERE to read the rest of the story from the Associated Press and

It's a moment that has become, not just a part of our history, but a part of our folklore, and has long held our fascinated attention. It has been the subject of countless books, documentaries and episodes in television series' ... and a number of theatrical film releases, including one that hit the big (silent) screen not long after the actual sinking, written by and starring one of the survivors.

For a long time there was speculation about how we might someday 'raise the Titanic' ... at least until that day when living human eyes looked upon the mighty ship for the first time in more than seventy years, and determined that it was going to remain right where it was.

The ship, maybe, but not other artifacts from it. Traveling exhibits of Titanic artifacts have attracted large crowds everywhere (including one that stopped nearby, in Lubbock). And my Dear Old Mom is one of many who owns a piece of coal recovered from Titanic site ... once meant to drive the ship across the ocean, it now funds research and development of Titanic-related products.

And until today, some of us could say 'I know someone who was there.'

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