Editor's Viewpoint: It’s time to sail on into the future
The eyes of the world were on Belfast this weekend during the commemorations for the Titanic centenary, and the city and its people did not disappoint.
After such a long-build prior to the opening of Titanic Belfast, and the flush of pride at such a world-class achievement, there was always a risk of allowing the celebrations to overshadow the commemoration.
This was particularly true of this weekend’s events which marked the exact centenary of the sinking of the Titanic, with the loss of 1,512 lives.
The tragedy of this horrific event was mirrored poignantly in a number of different ways, including the world premiere of Phil Hammond’s powerful Requiem For The Lost Souls Of The Titanic, in St Anne’s Cathedral on Saturday night and in St Peter’s Cathedral yesterday morning.
The BBC2 network broadcast of a Titanic Commemoration In Music And Film was also |impressive but in a different way, and it gave viewers throughout the UK a rounded account of the Titanic story.
The centre-piece was the opening of the Titanic Memorial Garden at the City Hall, and this was |carried out with suitable simplicity and dignity.
A particularly powerful part of the memorial |garden is the Belfast List, which records all the names of the people who died, including for the first time the crew, musicians and others. It is the only place in the world where a Titanic Memorial includes the full list of victims.
The Titanic centenary has been duly celebrated and commemorated, and while the fate of the great liner and her victims will never be forgotten, it is time to build on our achievements as a community and to look to the future.
The point was made well by the Dean of Belfast the Very Reverend John Mann in his address at the Titanic service in St Anne’s yesterday. He said that we may not build another Titanic but “we will, please God” continue to build “a healed and renewed people whose experiences of difficult times will stand it in good stead”.