By Ian Murray
THIS week’s anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic on its ill-fated journey into history has been a worldwide event.
On Tuesday, the focus of attention was here in Southampton as we marked the great liner’s sailing from the city docks.
I was present at the commemorative event and service held at Dock Gate 4 which culminated in wreath-laying at the very moment a century later when Titanic slipped her mooring and left the city for the first and last time.
It was a moving occasion, made the more so by the presence of many relatives of those who died.
I was struck by many parts of the ceremony.
It was dignified, it was moving, and although we all knew the story, it was captivating.
However, there were one or two moments when I wondered what those who had set sail on the great ship 100 years ago would have made of the audience there that day.
The proceedings began with the singing of the National Anthem, however glancing around I could see very few people even attempting to join in. The same was apparent with the singing of two well-known hymns – Oh God Our Help In Ages Past and Nearer, My God, to Thee.
The words for all three musical sections were included in the programme, so I can only conclude that those not wishing to sing were either not interested or perhaps embarrassed to raise their voices.
This is a pity. As a nation we seem to find no difficulty in raising our voices in song in all manner of other occasions: Britain’s Got Talent, karaoke, the football terraces.
I think that if the ghosts of the 1,500 who did not return from that voyage a century ago hovered over us, they would have found this all very strange and unfamiliar.
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