Amid a buildup to the centennial of the Titanic's sinking that went on and on, the actual event arrived last night, with ceremonies from Belfast to the North Atlantic marking the disaster that claimed nearly 1,500 lives. The MS Balmoral, on a cruise retracing the doomed liner's first and final voyage, observed a moment of silence at the site of the sinking with passengers lining the decks, reports the AP. Three wreaths were tossed into the waters.
"It was just so eerily quiet," says the great-niece of one of the ship's victims. "And then you look down over the side of the ship and you realize that every man and woman who was not fortunate enough to get into a lifeboat had to make that decision of when to jump or to stay with the ship, until the lights went out." Says another passenger aboard the Balmoral, "You still get a chill just looking at that water, imagining you have to go into it." In Belfast, where the Titanic was built, a plague with the names of the victims was unveiled in the Titanic Memorial Garden, notes the BBC. Titanic hit an iceberg some 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland at 11:40pm on April 14, 1912, and sank a scant three hours later. (Read more Titanic stories.)