Wednesday, April 15, 2015
In August of last year, I went on a trek with Charity and my sister Caitlin to Branson, MO. Charity and I planned the trip first and halfway during the planning stage Caitlin agreed to come with us. Our goal, pretty much our one and only goal, was to visit the Titanic museum. What is a Titanic museum doing in Branson? Who knows, and really, who actually cares because it's awesome and I didn't have to go all the way to Ireland for a comparable experience. Not that visiting Ireland would ever be a bad thing. It is in my bucket list, after all, I just wasn't fiscally prepared to go to Ireland yet.
So, instead it was Branson.
There is something haunting about passing through corridors and rooms that are identical to the ones used by the passengers on Titanic. I stepped out of time when I entered the room for the Grand Staircase. Yes, they literally recreated it. Music from the film, and you know the music I mean, was piped into the room. We stood there spellbound, overwhelmed both by the majesty of the experience but also the memory of all that was lost in one cataclysmic event. I think the three of us, Charity and I especially, could have stayed in that one room for hours, listening to the music repeat, remembering snippets of scenes from the film, awash with all the sensory experience of being on Titanic.
We held it together pretty well, I think. Wandering through the rooms, awash in too much sensory intake, we weren't crying yet. I honestly was starting to think it wouldn't happen.
Then we entered the music room.
The year we visited Branson was a year where they were honoring the musicians who continued to play as Titanic sank in an effort to soothe both their own fear and the fear of the passengers. In that room stood huge plaques of each musician, detailing his life. Some so young, some not so young. And within the room stood a beautiful grand piano.
As myth tells it, along with many survivors, the last song the musicians played was Nearer, My God, to Thee. Such a stunning hymn that never fails to move my heart. While Caitlin, Charity, and I were in that room, a woman approached the man who had been giving us the tour of the room. To this day I don't know if she was merely another guest like us, or whether she was an employee of the exhibit, but she sat down at the piano and played Nearer, My God, to Thee. If you've ever heard it, you know how deeply it can impact you. But you've never experienced this song until you've heard it played live in the middle of a Titanic memorial. I cried. So hard for the people whose lives were so unnecessarily lost.
I've never written a post about Titanic before, but I decided it was a good year for it. I'd had almost a religious experience at the Branson Titanic Museum and it was well worth repeating here. Oh, there are other rooms, ones that contain the memorial wall, a room with interactive pieces that give you an idea of how steeply the decks sloped as the ship sank, how cold the water really was, and even a chance to send your name via Morse Code. There were plenty of rooms dedicated to recreating the atmosphere of First Class Accommodations, and rooms dedicated solely to the photographs taken by passengers who somehow managed to survive.
But for me, my Titanic experience revolves around the Grand Staircase and that music room. I'm not one to claim things are life-altering, but if anything ever was, it would be hearing Nearer, My God, to Thee in such a setting. Remember the passengers of Titanic. Remember the loss, and remember the joy because this ship was remarkable. It probably would have faded away if not for its tragic end, but as it is, we choose to remember. I choose to remember.
If you get a chance take the VIRTUAL TOUR on the Branson website.