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FOR THE WEEK OF APR 09, 2012

Titanic saga still has strong grip a century after the luxury liner sank on its first voyage

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Find an article related to this week's anniversary and see if you learn something new about the Titanic.
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Look for a local person's quote in centennial coverage, such as a historian, Titanic buff or passenger's family member.
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Now try to spot a mention of another event from the past, perhaps involving the military, a old sports record or a notable person's death.

The most famous shipwreck took place 100 years ago this week in the North Atlantic on a moonless night with a calm, glassy ocean. Those conditions made it tough for lookouts on the luxury liner Titanic to see icebergs ahead, contributing to a fateful collision April 14, 1912 that killed more than 1,500 people traveling from Southampton, England, to New York City. Victims included some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as over 1,000 European emigrants seeking a new life in North America.

The nine-deck ship, which had been considered unsinkable, had only 16 lifeboats. It went down three hours after an iceberg ripped holes in its hull. Just over 700 passengers and crew survived. "There was no panic or rush to the boats, and there were no scenes of women sobbing hysterically, such as one generally pictures happening at such times," a survivor told reporters in New York. A British government investigation found little fault with Captain E.J. Smith, who hadn't slowed after other vessels telegraphed reports of floating ice in the area.

The legend is kept alive by books, films, museum exhibits and memorials. Several TV specials will air this week. National Geographic Museum in Washington presents "Titanic: 100 Year Obsession," an exhibit through July 8 that highlights work by Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck in 1985, and filmmaker James Cameron, who has organized 33 dives to the site. A 3D version of his blockbuster 1997 feature film dramatizing the story is back in theaters. In London on Tuesday, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will perform The Titanic Requiem, a new work. A memorial cruise that left Southampton on Sunday is following the Titanic's route and plans to reach the historic spot at the time of impact.

Reporter writes: "The attractions of the Titanic story, with its manifold ingredients -- action, romance, tragedy, salvation, history, culture, huge metal machines -- are obvious." -- Mike Hale, New York Times

Columnist says: "The Titanic was unsinkable. Its fate therefore proves that nothing is." -- Roger Cohen, New York Times

Memorial trip passenger says: "It will be fascinating. I get chills just thinking about it. There is a little bit of excitement and a little bit of trepidation to be on the ship outside at night." -– Sheila Byron of Marietta, Ga.

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2014
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