Why did we refuse to let the Titanic lie? In 1985, the RMS Titanic was finally discovered. And it was the Titanic, that they found, beyond a shred of a doubt on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. And many people said, “The people who were lost on the Titanic, can finally be put to rest.” Well, they kind of already were at rest. And the people who discovered this massive ship pretty much disturbed their grave.
But who wasn’t wondering about the Titanic? James Cameron did not make the first film about this 1912 disaster and there have been dozens if not hundreds of books and stories written based on this event on that April day. The survivors told their story and it was just enough, that people wanted to hear more. They wanted to know more. And the fact the “unsinkable” ship disappeared so quickly never to be seen again, created so much mystery and wonder about that fateful night.
How could the grandest ship in the world end up on the bottom of the ocean floor? Maybe by finding the Titanic, we could learn something more than we already knew from this history of the trip and the stories of the survivors. For some reason, people just crave anything Titanic, and have since the headlines first appeared.
Robert Ballard is the person responsible for the discovery and the famous underwater pictures we’ve all seen since 1985. In 1982, Ballard approached the US Navy to help fund the finding of the Titanic. The Navy agreed because the Titanic location was also near to where some believed two nuclear submarines from the war were also located. The Navy would use the Titanic search as a cover for their true mission, which was to actually search for the lost submarines. They wanted to keep their submarine search a secret from the Soviets.
The Navy helped Ballard create a vessel to search for the subs and the Titanic. So in 1985, after the subs were located, Ballard and his team were able to search for the Titanic. With this new technology and the experience learned from searching for the subs, Ballard’s team made wider sweeps across the ocean floor. They used an unmanned submersible called the Argo, that was able to dive even deeper than before. Within one week, on September 1, 1985, they had the first image of the boiler.
The team above was in celebration. This was quickly quieted when they were hit with the reality of where they were and that this ship was actually a graveyard. 1500 people had perished in that ship they had been trying so hard to find, and from that moment on, they were determined to use respect in their discovery.
It was learned that the ship did not sink as one large ship but rather broke into two pieces and landed apart from each other. While the pictures did not determine exactly how the ship sunk, the pictures do show how the ship landed.
Robert Ballard returned to the Titanic in 1986 with even more updated technology that allowed him to go into the interior of the Titanic. Images were taken that showed the remains of the beautiful interior intrigued us all. The Grand Staircase was everything we imagined, and the chandeliers were still hanging. There were dishes that were not broken and items that still looked brand new.
Since 1985, more expeditions have visited the Titanic. Salvagers have brought up several thousand artifacts from the ship’s remains. Robert Ballard has been widely outspoken against these people, claiming that he felt the ship deserved to rest in peace. Ironic. However, Ballard and his crew never brought up any artifacts. He felt that others should honor the wreckage in a similar fashion.
The most notable salvager has been the RMS Titanic Inc. They brought up a piece of the hull, and several thousand other artifacts including dishes, toys, and luggage. Many of those items have been put on display in Las Vegas, Branson, Missouri, and have traveled as a museum exhibit.
Of course most people have seen the latest movie, The Titanic, by James Cameron. This movie made in 1997 brought The Titanic alive again for us to see on the big screen. This movie was one of the most popular movies of all time. The Titanic was and still is our fascination. It’s been over 100 years since this unsinkable ship took only 3 hours to land on the ocean floor. One hundred years and we still cannot let the Titanic rest.