Reflection and prayer by Rev Ian Gilpin,Comber Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church
Official Opening of the new Titanic Memorial Garden Wreaths were laid by Lord Mayor Niall O Donnghaile; by Jack Martin, great nephew of John Simpson and a third wreath by David McVeigh on behalf of shipbuilders Harland and Wolff.
The garden, situated in the grounds of Belfast City Hall, features the only monument in the world to list the names of all those who died.
The names of more than 1,500 victims of the disaster are etched on five bronze plaques.
The scale of the tragedy is there for the world to see – the large memorial plinth is nine metres wide, in order to accommodate the long list of names of the people who died.
The garden was opened on the east side of Belfast City Hall, at a special commemorative service to mark the centenary of the sinking.
It is the first time the names of everyone who perished has been recorded on one monument. Many existing memorials failed to include the Titanic crew or musicians.
There is no distinction on the memorial between first-class passengers and others on board. The names are simply listed in alphabetical order.
Intriguingly, two of the names have an asterisk beside them – Mr Thomas Hart and Mr John Horgan.
The asterisk means that somebody was travelling under this passenger’s name, but they were not the actual passenger in question.Whether it’s their true identity or not, a life is a life, and they lost their life. There’s no other way to recognise them.
Neare my God to Thee
Sui La Rua
The Titanic Memorial in Belfast
The Titanic Memorial in Belfast was erected to commemorate the lives lost in the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912.
In the afternoon I attended, as a guest of the Dean, another special Service of Remembrance at St Anne’s Cathedral Church in Belfast
A handcrafted funeral pall was dedicated to mark the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic.
The ceremony also featured elements of the original memorial service in the days after the disaster.
Dean of Belfast the Rev John Mann recalled the tragic events of 100 years ago. “The tales of heroism and self-sacrifice of self-preservation and social advantage have been frequently rehearsed in these recent weeks, but for us today it is in the separation of fact from fiction, from movie to reality is what is required if we are to remember in sincerity and commemorate in the true spirit of acknowledgement of both the nobility of humanity and its inner frailties,” he said.
The pall was commissioned by St Anne’s as a permanent reminder of the loss of life and of the Christian hope of resurrection.Made of merino wool felt, it is backed with Irish linen and dyed an indigo blue, evoking an image of the midnight sea in which the Titanic finally came to rest.
The memorial has been made by Helen O’Hare and Wilma Kirkpatrick, textile artists at the University of Ulster. The 12ft X 8ft pall was the gift of the Friends of St Anne’s Cathedral.
A large central cross is fashioned from many of tiny crosses and hundreds more of these crosses, in different sizes and shapes, each individually stitched in silk, rayon, metallic and cotton threads, fall away towards the velvet rimmed edges of the pall, symbolic of lost lives sinking into the dark ocean.
The dean highlighted the development of the Titanic Quarter, a large district of new and refurbished arts centres, apartments, exhibition spaces and entertainment outlets, and said it symbolised the sense of purpose in the descendants of those who built the Titanic.
He added: “What comes to the fore today is where the nobility and frailty of the people of Belfast lie in 2012, not 1912, nobilities and frailties that are exposed in social interaction and political debate and have been exacerbated through the current recession, as we look for vision from our politicians and community and church leaders to see this region and city through.”