At 2.20 this morning, 104 years ago today, on the 15th April 1912, 1,500 people drowned or froze to death in the North Atlantic, when the largest ship in the world sank on her maiden voyage.
Her name was Titanic, and that name has passed into our collective memory. But why? Is it simply because a lot of people died on a big ship a long time ago? Or is it because the story of the Titanic somehow strikes a much deeper chord within all of us?
She was the best and strongest ship we could make, crewed by the most experienced sailors we could find, and she employed the latest technology of her time. In short, she represented the triumph of the ingenuity of Man over the forces of nature.
And for the immigrants of Europe, she represented a new life in the New World. She was a symbol of hope.
But what happened? On her very first voyage, and filled with some of the richest and most powerful people in the world, she bumped into a giant iceberg in the dark, and sank in less than three hours.
The enormous, ancient iceberg represents the awesome power of nature. The story of the Titanic reminds us who we are, and of our place in the Universe.