“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his brother.”
St. John 15:13
The night was chilly. Many people had retired, but even though it was after 11 oclock, there were still people milling around. Men were still enjoying the evening in the smoking rooms and in the card rooms, professional gamblers were reaping their usual profit. All were calm, none would have dreamed of the horrors which would soon be upon them.
It was April 14, 1912. It was the R.M.S Titanic as she traversed the North Atlantic Ice fields. The Titanic struck the now infamous iceberg at around 11:40 that night. At that time decisions were made which would make heroes or cowards out of the men and women on board. On board the ill-fated ship were some of the most prominent names of that time: John Jacob Astor, President Taft’s aide, Major Archibald Butt, Benjamin Guggenheim and Isador Strauss, to name a few. The passenger list included six men who had fortunes which ran into the tens of millions, but this did not change the choice which lay before them. Would they be willing to lay down their lives for others? Would they become heroes or would they show themselves cowards?
Several chose to be cowards as they made a mad dash for the lifeboats, several were shot down by the gentlemen around them. One man is said to have actually changed into women’s clothing and made his way to safety. ‘So foul an act is that will out like murder’ says a book published the same year the Titanic went down.
Yet, in ways almost incomprehensive to us now, many men stood for what was right and showed themselves selfless and noble. Many men didn’t have to think twice, nor did they have to be told to put women and children first. Those courageous men onboard helped women, some of them complete strangers, to safety. It didn’t matter if they were the belles of society or poor steerage women and children who hardly had money to their names. Benjamin Guggenheim sent a message to his wife saying, “No woman shall be left aboard this ship because Ben Guggenheim was a coward.”
Many of the men onboard remained composed as the great vessel sank. They gathered in groups around the rail and visited, some even lit cigars as they faced their icy deaths.
Titanic survivor, Lawrence Beesley recalled that,
“Many brave things were done that night but none more brave than by those few men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea…the music they played serving alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recorded on the rulls of undying fame.”
The ships band is remembered for their coolness that night. Even as the ship was sinking into her watery grave, they played on. It was those musicians who helped to keep up the courage of others. It was said that ‘…helped to make the deaths of many less cruel.’
The women aboard the ship were also heroes that night. They were separated from those whom they most loved, knowing that they would never see them again. For many it would have been easier to stay and face whatever doom lay before them with the men they loved at their sides rather than to face the rest of their lives without them. The Titanic disaster left more than 70 women widowed to carry on. Once they were safely home they had to live with the horrors of the tragedy for the rest of their lives. As if that wasn’t enough once there they were criticized by the feminists of the day for taking the seats in lifeboats that the men offered. Why? They said it was all a part of the male’s oppression of women. Since when has men giving their lives that a women or child might live called ‘oppression’?
The Titanic was a story of heroism and chivalry. It has since been reduced to tragedy and mockery. Both heroism and chivalry have slowly died out of culture. Even in the days of the Titanic those noble traits were starting to die out as feminism started to take its deathly hold upon society. It is time that we revived the truth. Today, we must return to those ways of old, we must loose the feministic grasp. Just as there were heroes upon the Titanic, there can be heroes today. For heroes are those who will do what is right no matter what consequences are looming before them.
‘Women and children first – praise God!
Women and children first.
This principle we ever laud!
Women and children first.’ *
*Poem by Doug Phillips, taken from The Titanic and other Great Sea Disasters