History Buzz March 8, 2013: Julian Zelizer interviews John Milton Cooper Jr.: Princeton’s Wilson School celebrates centennial of Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration as US president


History Buzz


Wilson School celebrates centennial of Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration as U.S. president

Source: Woodrow Wilson School Office of Communications, 3-8-13

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson as the 28th President of the United States, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs hosted a conversation with Wilson biographer John Milton Cooper Jr., Class of 1961.

Cooper, author of “Woodrow Wilson: A Biography,” was interviewed Feb. 21 by Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian who is a professor of history and public affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School. The event celebrating the centennial of Wilson’s inauguration March 14, 1913, was co-sponsored by the Wilson School and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum….READ MORE

On This Day in History… April 14-15, 1912: Titanic’s Sinking 100 Years Later Centennial Anniversary — Unsinkable Ship Strikes an Iceberg and Sinks in the Atlantic Ocean


Day in History


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.




On this day in history… April 15, 1912, the British luxury liner Titanic sank in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland, less than three hours after striking an iceberg. About 1,500 people died. (NYT)

April 14, 1912: RMS Titanic hits iceberg… April 15, 1912: Titanic sinks

Source: History.com

At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner Titanic sinks into the North Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, Canada. The massive ship, which carried 2,200 passengers and crew, had struck an iceberg two and half hours before.

On April 10, the RMS Titanic, one of the largest and most luxurious ocean liners ever built, departed Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The Titanic was designed by the Irish shipbuilder William Pirrie and built in Belfast, and was thought to be the world’s fastest ship. It spanned 883 feet from stern to bow, and its hull was divided into 16 compartments that were presumed to be watertight. Because four of these compartments could be flooded without causing a critical loss of buoyancy, the Titanic was considered unsinkable. While leaving port, the ship came within a couple of feet of the steamer New York but passed safely by, causing a general sigh of relief from the passengers massed on the Titanic’s decks. On its first journey across the highly competitive Atlantic ferry route, the ship carried some 2,200 passengers and crew.

After stopping at Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland, to pick up some final passengers, the massive vessel set out at full speed for New York City. However, just before midnight on April 14, the RMS Titanic failed to divert its course from an iceberg and ruptured at least five of its hull compartments. These compartments filled with water and pulled down the bow of the ship. Because the Titanic’s compartments were not capped at the top, water from the ruptured compartments filled each succeeding compartment, causing the bow to sink and the stern to be raised up to an almost vertical position above the water. Then the Titanic broke in half, and, at about 2:20 a.m. on April 15, stern and bow sank to the ocean floor.

Because of a shortage of lifeboats and the lack of satisfactory emergency procedures, more than 1,500 people went down in the sinking ship or froze to death in the icy North Atlantic waters. Most of the 700 or so survivors were women and children. A number of notable American and British citizens died in the tragedy, including the noted British journalist William Thomas Stead and heirs to the Straus, Astor, and Guggenheim fortunes.

One hour and 20 minutes after Titanic went down, the Cunard liner Carpathia arrived. The survivors in the lifeboats were brought aboard, and a handful of others were pulled out of the water. It was later discovered that the Leyland liner Californian had been less than 20 miles away at the time of the accident but had failed to hear the Titanic’s distress signals because its radio operator was off duty.

Announcement of details of the tragedy led to outrage on both sides of the Atlantic. In the disaster’s aftermath, the first International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea was held in 1913. Rules were adopted requiring that every ship have lifeboat space for each person on board, and that lifeboat drills be held. An International Ice Patrol was established to monitor icebergs in the North Atlantic shipping lanes. It was also required that ships maintain a 24-hour radio watch.

On September 1, 1985, a joint U.S.-French expedition located the wreck of the Titanic lying on the ocean floor at a depth of about 13,000 feet. The ship was explored by manned and unmanned submersibles, which shed new light on the details of its sinking.


Source: The Sun, 4-14-12


    • 9.45am: The ship approaches an area known for icebergs about 400 miles south of Newfoundland.
    • 11.40pm: Iceberg rips open the side of the Titanic.


  • 12.25am: Order given to put women and children into lifeboats.
  • 12:45am: Lifeboat number seven is the first lowered – with only 19 of 65 capacity.
  • 2:18am: Titanic breaks in two.
  • 2:20am: Ship goes under.


Source for many of the links: NYT

From History.com

News Coverage

From National Geographic


  • Around the world, prayer, music and flowers remember sinking of the Titanic, 100 years on: In the birthplace of the Titanic, residents will gather for a choral requiem. In the North Atlantic, above the ship’s final resting place, passengers will pray as a band strikes up a hymn and three floral wreaths are cast onto the waves.
    A century after the great ship went down with the loss of 1,500 lives, events around the globe are marking a tragedy that retains a titanic grip on the world’s imagination — an icon of Edwardian luxury that became, in a few dark hours 100 years ago, an enduring emblem of tragedy…. – WaPo, 4-14-12
  • US, British ships to meet at Titanic sinking spot: Titanic fans aboard cruise ships are journeying to the spot where the great liner hit an iceberg exactly 100 years ago on Sunday, as somber ceremonies are held on land to mark the disaster.The anniversary has taken on an international character, with artists, scientists and museums engaged in months-long preparations for commemorating events in Britain, Canada, Ireland and the United States, with an emphasis on dignity.
    The Titanic was built in Belfast, and sailed from Southampton toward New York, but it was from Halifax that ships were sent to retrieve the bodies. And 150 of the tragedy’s 1,514 victims are buried here.
    One century to the hour after the fatal encounter with an iceberg, more than 1,700 passengers on two cruise ships — the MS Balmoral from Southampton and the Azamara Journey from New York City — plan to meet at the site where the Titanic went down to witness a partial reenactment.
    The ship’s captain will announce a collision and a distress call will ring out.
    Passengers then plan to throw wreaths into the sea at 2:20 am about 800 kilometers (500 miles) southeast of Halifax at the time and place the ship sank.
    Some participants in the memorial events — many of them history buffs or descendants of passengers of the doomed voyage — came with personal stories about how the Titanic touched their lives…. – AFP, 4-14-12
  • Titanic mystery: 100 years later, questions linger in NJ: On April 27, Bracken and Charles Haas of Randolph, president of the Titanic International Society, will gather with other members of the international group in Secaucus for the RMS Titanic Centennial Convention, for a candlelight service…. – NJ Star-Ledger, 4-14-12
  • Remembering the Titanic in Southampton: A hundred years after the ship left Southampton, the port city marked the anniversary of the epic disaster with a recording of the ship’s whistle…. – NYT, 4-10-12
  • Halifax to remember the Titanic with Night of Bells ceremony: It was 100 years ago tonight that the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg and later sank about 700 kilometres from the port of Halifax killing 1,500 of the 2,200 people aboard.
    The province of Nova Scotia is inviting the public to help commemorate the sinking and the lives that were lost at an event called Titanic Eve – Night of the Bells.
    It will be an event rich in memory and symbolism, beginning with a candlelit procession that will start at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street…. – CBC News, 4-14-12
  • Coast Guard cutter to spread 1.5 million rose petals atop the Titanic’s watery grave: A Coast Guard cutter will depart from Boston to spread 1.5 million dried rose petals over the resting place of the Titanic, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking, the Coast Guard said today.
    Crewmembers from the cutter Juniper will spread the petals atop the ship’s watery grave on Saturday. Members of the Coast Guard-led International Ice Patrol will also cast five wreaths from an HC-130J Hercules aircraft based out of Elizabeth City, N.J., the Coast Guard said in a statement.“I think it’s important. It is a chance to experience 100 years ago — how things have changed with transatlantic voyages,” said Petty Officer Rob Simpson, who will be on board the Juniper.
    The wreaths and rose petals will be blessed at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Coast Guard base in Boston hosted by the agency, as well as the Titanic Historical Society, the Titanic International Society, and Titanic Museum Attractions…. – Boston Globe, 4-9-12
  • At Sea on the Titanic a Century Ago: We may not know everything that happened that fateful night on April 15, 1912, but the ambition and folly of the Titanic’s maiden voyage are still with us…. – NYT, 4-13-12
  • Twists of Fate: The Titanic narrowly avoided a collision with another ocean liner, the New York, at the beginning of its ill-fated journey…. – NYT, 4-13-12
  • Experts Split on Possibility of Remains at Titanic Site: In 1986, Congress passed a protective law known as the RMS Titanic Memorial Act, but officials at the ocean agency and elsewhere agree that it has no teeth…. – NYT, 4-14-12
  • World’s largest Titanic attraction opens in Belfast: Resembling both an iceberg and the prow of the doomed ship that sank on its maiden voyage, the $160 million, six-story Titanic Belfast has drawn more than 40,000 visitors since it opened March 31…. – USA Today, 4-12
  • ‘Titanic at 100′ at South Street Seaport Museum: Titanic-themed entertainment abounds this weekend, and not just on the screen but in the city…. – NYT, 4-12-12
  • Titanic exhibit “Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory” — South Street Seaport Museum: A scale model of the RMS Titanic sits on display at the opening of the “Titanic at 100: Myth and Memory” exhibition on April 10, 2012 in New York City. The exhibit opened at the Melville Gallery, part of the South Street Seaport Museum, on the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s launch on her maiden – and only – voyage. The exhibition features mayday communications from the ship, personal artifacts from survivors, production items from Titanic films and interactive multimedia tours through the ship. The British passenger liner sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 1,500 people on April 15,1912 after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City…. – Times Union, 4-10-12
  • History Lost And Found: A Letter From Titanic: Many famous names went down with the Titanic, like the American millionaire John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on the ship, and Macy’s department store owner Isidor Straus.
    But you may not know about one of the ship’s doctors — John Edward Simpson. Aboard the Titanic, Simpson wrote a letter to his mother back home in Belfast. It was mailed from the great ship’s last port of call before it made its disastrous turn across the North Atlantic.Over the years, though, the letter fell into the hands of a collector, and the Simpson family thought it lost forever — until now…. – NPR, 4-14-12
  • Titanic Continues to Have a Long Afterlife – Advertising: Marketers and media companies are feeding an apparently ceaseless interest in the Titanic with an outpouring of TV programs, books, and many other collectibles…. – NYT, 4-12-12
  • New Books About the Titanic and Its Passengers: Two books explore the doomed maiden voyage of the Titanic…. – NYT, 4-14-12
  • Titanic, a story told in movies, plays and books: Mention Oreo cookies or the Girl Guides and no one’s likely to hark back, almost without thinking, to 1912. Both came into being that year. It’s the sinking of the Titanic that brings the time most readily to mind.
    The disaster has entered the language: “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” for any futile gesture that will fail to ward off impending calamity.
    It’s also become a cultural touchstone for any writer or filmmaker seeking to evoke the years immediately prior to World War I and symbolize the approaching death of a gilded era.The Titanic has featured most prominently in movies too numerous all to be mentioned here…. – Toronto Star, 4-14-12
  • Deborah Hopkinson: ‘Titanic’ review: Gripping ‘Voices’: When the ‘unsinkable’ met the unthinkable:
    TITANIC: VOICES FROM THE DISASTER, Deborah Hopkinson, Scholastic Press, $17.99, 304 pages
    On April 15, 1912, 17-year-old Jack Thayer was returning home from a European trip with his parents. A first-class passenger on a grand new ocean liner, he enjoyed a lavish dinner. It was a cold evening, growing colder. “There was no moon,” he said, “and I have never seen the stars shine brighter.” Before the night was through, Jack Thayer would find himself in desperate trouble. His ship, the Titanic, struck an iceberg and began to sink.
    “Titanic: Voices From the Disaster” is gripping from the first page. West Linn writer Deborah Hopkinson begins her history for middle grade and young adult readers by laying out the bare facts of the tragedy. The Titanic was an extraordinarily elegant ship, too big to sink. How then, could she have struck an iceberg? Why weren’t there adequate lifeboats or a plan for using them? Hopkinson answers those questions and introduces a number of vivid characters: “a stewardess, a 9-year-old boy, a science teacher, a wealthy gentleman, a brave seaman, an American high school senior, a young mother on her way to start a new life, and more.”…. – The Oregonian, 4-14-12
  • Titanic: A ship full of myths: Probably the most outlandish belief ever about the sinking of the Titanic is that it wasn’t the Titanic . . . .
    British writer Robin Gardiner got three books out of his premise that it was actually sister-ship the Olympic that went to the bottom in a massive insurance scam gone horribly wrong.In Titanic: The Ship that Never Sank, The Great Titanic Conspiracy and The Riddle of the Titanic, the latter co-authored with journalist Dan van der Vat, Gardiner builds on a collision in 1911 between the Olympic and a Royal Navy cruiser, HMS Hawke….. – Toronto Star, 4-12-12


United Press International/File

Artist Willy Stoewer’s vision of what the sinking must have looked like

  • Survivors of the Titanic | Survivors from the famous shipwreck tell their stories: At 11.40pm on 14 April, 1912, the famously ‘unsinkable’ ocean liner, Titanic, struck an iceberg. Two hours and 40 minutes later she sank deep into the freezing Atlantic waters. Less than a third of the people on board survived.
    Over the years, the BBC has heard from some of the men and women who lived through that ‘night to remember’. Their memories, and internal BBC documents about the controversies that followed, are now gathered together to tell the true story of the disaster.
    Hear the survivors describe a night they could never forget…. – BBC
  • Titanic memories from Canadians: Titanic survivors with a connection to Canada were a mixed bag of infants to autocrats, with an equally mixed bag of stories as they disembarked in New York from the rescue ship Carpathia…. – Toronto Star, 4-13-12
  • ‘They watched the ship go down’Toronto Star, 4-13-12
  • Titanic: ‘I heard the screams’ recalls officerJoseph Boxhall Joseph Boxhall was aged 28 when he became fourth officer on the Titanic:

    Joseph Boxhall, the fourth officer on RMS Titanic, was on duty the night the liner sank, but survived the disaster after he was ordered to take charge of one of the lifeboats.
    In a BBC radio interview in 1962, the Hull-born officer recalled the moment the liner hit the iceberg on 14 April…. – BBC, 4-14-12

  • Titanic 100: We survived: Just over 700 people escaped from the Titanic after it struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on the night of 14 April 1912. More than 1,500 others were not so fortunate.
    The survivors scrambled into lifeboats or plunged into the icy water. In the years after the disaster, some of them spoke publicly about the Titanic’s ill-fated maiden voyage.
    Here, with the help of archive images and audio, listen to what happened through the voices of crew members Charles Lightoller and Frank Prentice and passengers Eva Hart and Edith Russell…. – BBC, 4-9-12
  • The terrible cries for help lasted 20 or 30 minutes… then faded away – Titanic first class passenger John Thayer:
    CLOSE to death adrift in the dark Atlantic, John Thayer watched as the Titanic slipped beneath the waves.The 17-year-old and his parents had been first-class passengers on the doomed liner 100 years ago.
    Miraculously, John – heir to an American railroad fortune – survived the disaster with his mother and wrote a vivid first-hand account of the catastrophe 28 years later.
    John committed suicide in 1945 and for decades A Survivor’s Tale was forgotten – but it is now back in print to mark the centenary.
    Here is an edited extract…. – The Sun, 4-14-12
  • Titanic: Unlikely friendship in lifeboat eight: Able Seaman Thomas Jones and the Countess of Rothes became friends after surviving the tragedy
    He was a crewman from Wales, she was a countess from London travelling first class on the biggest passenger liner of the time.
    If not for one of the biggest maritime disasters in history, it is unlikely their paths would ever have crossed.
    But aboard Titanic’s lifeboat number eight Able Seaman Thomas Jones and Lucy Noël Martha, Countess of Rothes, struck up an unlikely friendship that would last for the rest of their lives.And now 100 years later their descendants have met for the first time.
    Thomas William Jones was 32 years old when he boarded the Titanic as a member of the deck crew at Southampton.
    The Countess of Rothes, who was “of independent means”, was just a year older than the crewman when she boarded at the same port with her Scottish husband’s cousin and her maid…. – BBC , 4-14-12
  • Unsinkable Molly Brown’s daughter chose Paris over Titanic: Helen Brown Benziger couldn’t resist April in Paris. What 22-year-old socialite studying abroad could?
    The City of Light, from its spring fashion shows to its blossoming boulevards, had a certain je ne sais quoi.
    That magnetism, that state of mind, later romanticized in song, presumably altered the course of history for the only daughter of the heroine who came to be immortalized as “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown.
    Benziger, who years later settled in Old Greenwich, chose Paris over the maiden voyage of the Titanic.
    The year was 1912…. – Greenwich Times, 4-11-12
  • 200,000 Titanic-related records are published online:
    More than 200,000 records relating to the Titanic have been published online to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking on 15 April.
    The documents provide information about survivors and the 1,500 people who died, including a number of wills and hundreds of coroner inquest files.
    The collection has been gathered by the subscription-based family history website Ancestry.co.uk.
    However, access to the Titanic records collection is free until 31 May 2012…. – BBC, 4-9-12


  • The Titanic Sails Today: The White Star liner Titanic, the largest vessel in the world, will sail at noon tomorrow from Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York…. – NYT, 4-10-1912
  • Allan Liner Virginian Now Steaming Toward the Ship: A wireless dispatch received tonight by the Allan-line officials from the steamer Virginian states that the Titanic flashed out wireless calls for immediate assistance. The Virginian put on full speed and headed for the Titanic…. – NYT, 4-15-1912
  • Latest News From the Sinking Ship: Dispatches from the Titanic to the Marconic wireless station in Cape Race, Newfoundland…. – NYT, 4-15-1912
  • Noted Men on the Lost Titanic: Sketches of a few of the well-known people among the 1,300 passengers lost on the Titanic, including Col. Jacob Astor and his wife, Isidor Strauss and Benjamin Guggenheim…. – NYT, 4-16-1912
  • Biggest Liner Plunges to the Bottom at 2:20 a.m.: The Carpathia found at daybreak this morning only the lifeboats and the wreckage of what had been the biggest steamship afloat…. – NYT, 4-16-1912
  • Titanic’s “C.Q.D.” Caught by a Lucky Fluke:
    By Harold Thomas Cottam, wireless operator on the Carpathia:
    Carpathia’s wireless man had finished his work for the night, but going back to verify a “Time Rush,” he caught the call for help…. – NYT, 4-19-1912
  • Thrilling Tale by Titanic’s Surviving Wireless Man:
    By Harold Bride, surviving wireless operator on the Titanic:
    Wireless operator recounts the final hours of the ship…. – NYT, 4-28-1912


  • Titanic: A century of fascination: Stephen Cox, a UC San Diego English literature professor who has written extensively about Titanic, including a book, has some ideas about why the tragedy retains its pull on the public’s imagination, 100 years later and counting.
    “It’s a story about people, and it’s a story about people who are like us,” he said. “We’re interested in thinking about what we would have done under those circumstances.”
    It took the Titanic two hours and 40 minutes to sink, roughly the time of a Shakespearean tragedy, Cox said. People had time to think about what they were doing, and why. The decisions they made — Get on a lifeboat? Go back for others? Sink or swim? — say something about them and their character. And, by extension, something about us…. – UT San San Diego, 4-13-12
  • William Neill: Titanic ‘disaster tourism’ disrespects victims, academic claims: The city of Belfast has “coarsened itself” by exploiting the sinking of the Titanic to draw in tourists, an academic has claimed.
    Titanic anniversary: Belfast’s monument to the Titanic tale Belfast has spent £97m – Northern Ireland’s biggest-ever outlay on a tourism project – on Titanic BelfastThe city is throwing a three week “festival” to mark the opening the Titanic Belfast museum and the centenary of the launch of the fated ocean liner.
    William Neill, a professor of urban planning at Aberdeen University, said: “Belfast is unique in terms of the significance of the Titanic but the question must be raised as to whether that memory has been treated with enough respect.
    “The city has lived with the shame of the sinking for many years. That has turned a corner and it is important that the role Belfast’s great shipyard played in our maritime history is acknowledged.
    “Whether what is now a mythic legacy should have been tied so closely to financial gain through selling ‘infotainment’ is more debateable.”
    Professor Neill is to address a conference on the phenomenon of ‘disaster tourism’ in Berlin. More than 1,500 people died when the RMS Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after striking on iceberg…. – Telegraph UK, 4-4-12
  • Paul Heyer: Fascination with Titanic is unlikely to sink, prof says
    Paul Heyer is a WLU prof who has just published a book called Titanic Century. He is in big demand these days as an expert on media coverage 100 years ago and Titanic myth-making.
    It’s downright painful for Paul Heyer to admit that he passed up on a chance to be an extra on the set of movie producer James Cameron’s 1997 megahit Titanic.The professor of communication studies at Wilfrid Laurier University is an expert on how the passenger ship and its tragic story have been represented in all kinds of media.
    He is the author of the just-released book, Titanic Century: Media, Myth and the Making of a Cultural Icon, an update of a scholarly work he published in 1995.
    Heyer says he was teaching at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., back in the 1990s, when he was asked if he would like to spend two weeks in San Diego, Calif.
    “Titanic was in production and they were looking for extras with some connections to the Titanic,” Heyer recalls. “They wanted people who had written about the Titanic, or members of the Titanic Historical Society.”
    To this day — and maybe even more so now that the movie is back on the big screen in 3D to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking on April 15, 1912 — Heyer regrets saying no…. – Guelph Mercury, 4-13-12
  • ‘The Titanic For Dummies’ Written By University Of New Haven Professor Stephen Spignesi Covers Historic Disaster, Detail By Detail: Fact No. 1: There was nobody named Jack Dawson on the Titanic.
    Fact No. 2: The man named J. Dawson who was among the passengers and died on the Titanic, and whose grave movie fans visit in Nova Scotia, was not Jack, the character Leonardo DiCaprio played in that 1997 blockbuster movie.
    “The Titanic for Dummies” will teach you that, and thousands more facts about the legendary disaster.So if his first Titanic book was “complete,” why write a new one?
    “I was already a ‘Dummies’ author. I’ve written three of them,” Spignesi said, referring to “Second Homes for Dummies,” “Lost Books of the Bible for Dummies” and “Native American History for Dummies.” “I had done the [Titanic] book in 1998. I had already put in the time to do the research and had a massive archive of books, articles, videos and facts.”
    With that research in hand, he persuaded Wiley, the publisher, to let him write “The Titanic For Dummies” on the 100th anniversary of the disaster, which happened on April 14-15, 1912. More than 700 passengers and crew members survived the sinking of the Titanic, but more than 1,500 died.
    Spignesi, 58, who teaches English and history at University of New Haven in West Haven, said that “The Titanic for Dummies” is different in format from his previous book.
    “‘The Complete Titanic’ was straightforward history, and the ‘Dummies’ books are very modular and nonsequential,” he said. “They’re meant entirely as reference books.”… – The Hartford Courant, 4-8-12
  • Morgan Woodward: St. Cloud historian has a Titanic love Woodward uncovers St. Cloud ship connections: “It teaches us about ourselves; you look at the Titanic disaster and it’s the microcosm of Edwardian society — kind of this culmination of arrogance and hubris,” Woodward said.
    “The ship slipped below the waves in the wee hours of April 15; it’s all over the front pages on the 15th, which was a Monday, so people knew about it right away,” he said…. – SC Times, 4-13-12
  • Crossing the Ocean, 1912 vs. 2012: THE 100th anniversary of the Titanic tragedy is being widely observed on both sides of the Atlantic, at museum openings, special exhibits and lectures, theatrical performances, concerts, readings and walking and graveyard tours. Guests at some events are invited to dress in fashions of the era, and Titanic-themed cocktails and re-creations of the elaborate first-class meal from the storied liner’s last dinner will be served. Two Titanic Memorial Cruises to the site of the sinking are planned, and the ships are scheduled to be there on the anniversary, April 15.
    But what was life onboard the Titanic actually like? Not much like taking a cruise today.
    Traveling on the Titanic was a voyage of purpose, primarily to transport mail, cargo and passengers, many of whom were emigrating, as steadily and safely as possible.
    Designed to withstand harsh seas and cut through water, the Titanic was built with efficiency in mind. Ships today are capable of traveling at speeds similar to the Titanic’s but rarely do, as cruising is about pleasure, said John Maxtone-Graham, a maritime historian and author of the newly published book “Titanic Tragedy: A New Look at the Lost Liner.”…. – NYT, 4-8-12

Titanic today
Titanic … as it looks today, resting on bottom of the Atlantic

Full Text Obama Presidency March 27, 2012: First Lady Michelle Obama’s Speech at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony



First Lady Michelle Obama Marks the Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial

Source: WH, 3-27-12

First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 27, 2012)First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a centennial tree planting ceremony during the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., March 27, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

It’s been 100 years to the day since First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States, planted the first of the 3,000 cherry trees presented from the city of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan.

To mark the occasion, First Lady Michelle Obama — joined by Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and William H. Taft IV, the great-grandson of President Taft — returned to the Tidal Basin along the Potomac River to plant a new sapling for future generations to enjoy.

She told the crowd:

People from both of our nations worked together for years to bring these trees here to Washington. And over the past century, people of all ages from the U.S. and Japan and so many other nations have come to this Tidal Basin each spring to marvel at their beauty. And year after year, even after the coldest, darkest, stormiest winters, these trees have continued to bloom.

So on this historic anniversary, we don’t just admire the beauty of these trees, we also admire their resilience. And in so doing, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience of the Japanese people. Over the past year, we have all witnessed their courage, unity and grace as they have come together and begun the very hard work of rebuilding their nation.

One hundred years from now, the First Lady said, she hoped, “the First Lady –- or the First Gentleman –- of 2112 will also have the privilege of joining with our friends from Japan, and planting another tree which will bloom for yet another one hundred years and beyond.”


Remarks by the First Lady at the National Cherry Blossom Festival Centennial Tree Planting Ceremony

Source: WH, 3-27-12

Tidal Basin
Washington, D.C.
11:22 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you.  Thank you so much, it is a true pleasure to be here on this beautiful, little chilly day.  (Laughter.)  We planned it.  This is the only cold day of the week, and we are here.  But I am pleased to be here.

I want to start by thanking Secretary Salazar for that very kind introduction, and for all of his outstanding work as Secretary of the Interior.

I want to thank and recognize Ambassador Fujisaki, as well as Mrs. Fujisaki, who are here today.  Thank you all so much, I know you’re here somewhere — oh, you’re here.  (Laughter.)  It’s good to see you both.  And I want to thank all of you for taking the time to join us for this historic event.

We have come together to celebrate these beautiful cherry blossom trees — and yes, they were blooming last week.  We were so close.  (Laughter.)  But I think the tree we’re planting will — still has a few blooms, but they are beautiful.  And we are here to honor all that they stand for.  For so many years, these trees have served as a symbol of the great friendship between the United States and Japan, and as a reminder of our shared hopes, dreams and aspirations.

People from both of our nations worked together for years to bring these trees here to Washington.  And over the past century, people of all ages from the U.S. and Japan and so many other nations have come to this Tidal Basin each spring to marvel at their beauty.  And year after year, even after the coldest, darkest, stormiest winters, these trees have continued to bloom.

So on this historic anniversary, we don’t just admire the beauty of these trees, we also admire their resilience.  And in so doing, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience of the Japanese people.  Over the past year, we have all witnessed their courage, unity and grace as they have come together and begun the very hard work of rebuilding their nation.

And I think that that more than anything else is the lesson that we can learn from these trees.  They teach us about all that we can achieve together.  And because people from both of our nations came together, this landscape was transformed.  And for one hundred years, people from every background and every walk of life have come here to experience, truly, the magic of these trees.

No matter who you are, their beauty stirs our souls.  No matter where we’re from, being here among these beautiful blossoms truly lifts our spirits.  And that is why we invited all of these wonderful children to join us — where are the children?  There they are.  (Applause.)  They are here because we want them to learn this lesson as well; we want to pass this lesson onto them.  We want to teach them about the great partnership between our nations and what that means for our shared future.  We want to teach them to appreciate and learn from the traditions and cultures of others.

And we want them to be inspired by the example of our friends in Japan who have worked so hard and who have been so brave in rebuilding their lives.  Because in the end it will be up to them, this next generation, to continue that great friendship.  It will be up to them to carry these traditions forward so that one hundred years from now, their children and grandchildren will be able to come here to this very spot and see the tree that we will plant, full grown and in full bloom.

And I hope that on that day, the First Lady –- or the First Gentleman –- of 2112 will also have the privilege of joining with our friends from Japan, and planting another tree which will bloom for yet another one hundred years and beyond.

So with that, I want to once again thank you all for joining us today, and bearing the frigid cold.  If you stick around for one more day, it will be 80 tomorrow, I guarantee you.  (Laughter.)  It’s really nice weather here.  But we are truly honored to have you here, and it’s a pleasure to be able to join in this very special occasion.

And with that, I think it is time for us to plant a tree.  (Applause.)

11:27 A.M. EDT

Del Quentin Wilber: ‘Rawhide Down’: The (almost) death of a president

Source: Politico, 3-11-11

Nancy and Ronald Reagan stand together in a room at the George Washington University Medical Center. | AP Photo

A new book documents decisions to downplay the severity of Ronald Reagan’s wound. | AP Photo Close

Ronald Reagan barely survived in 1981.

A book out Tuesday paints a much direr picture of the president’s prognosis in the hours after John Hinckley shot him than the White House or his doctors acknowledged at the time … and in the decades since.

In “Rawhide Down,” Washington Post reporter Del Quentin Wilber reports that the then 70-year-old Reagan lost more than half his blood after arriving at George Washington University Hospital.

Eager to avoid panic at home and not embolden enemies abroad, Wilber documents decisions to downplay the severity of the unconscious Reagan’s wound.

Some medical professionals who initially saw Reagan thought he was a goner, Wilber reports. The nurse trying to take Reagan’s blood pressure when he arrived at the hospital couldn’t hear a pulse. The surgeon struggled to locate the bullet lodged an inch from Reagan’s heart, which had collapsed his left lung.

Told via press and official accounts that Reagan walked into the hospital of his own volition and told funny jokes to the doctors, the public didn’t grasp how close to dying he came. If the Secret Service had taken Reagan back to the White House, instead of rerouting to the hospital, he almost certainly would have died.

Reagan’s closest advisers didn’t want to temporarily transfer power to Vice President George H.W. Bush because they feared it would raise bigger questions about Reagan’s age and ability.

Lyn Nofziger, a longtime Reagan aide, didn’t want the surgeons who had operated on Reagan to brief the press because he thought they’d look too tired and emotional in front of the cameras. So he picked a hospital administrator, who lied to reporters when he said the president “sailed through it” and “was at no time in any serious danger” during a press conference five hours after the shooting.

The administrator, Dennis O’Leary, also lied when he said the bullet never came close to “any vital structure,” and he failed to mention that Reagan collapsed soon after he walked into the hospital. He understated the amount of blood Reagan lost by 1.5 units and told reporters that Reagan received three fewer units of blood than he did.

The book’s publication coincides with the 30th anniversary of the March 30, 1981, shooting and the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birth. It’s also timely in the wake of the January shootings in January that critically injured Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and took the lives of six others…READ MORE: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51173.html

Julian Zelizer: The Reagan Centennial, Reagan the politician

Source: Politico, 2-6-11

Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill are pictured. | AP Photo

Movements need leaders who are good at politics if they want to succeed. Nobody understood this more than Ronald Reagan. | AP Photo Close

Politics is a dirty word in Washington. Movement activists, on the left and the right, hate when their party negotiates with the opposition and compromises on key issues.

Over the past year, tea party Republicans leveled this charge against the GOP. They complained that Republicans had become too comfortable with the wheeling and dealing so characteristic of Capitol Hill. They promise not to do the same.

But movements need leaders who are good at politics if they want to succeed. Nobody understood this more than Ronald Reagan.

While there are extensive discussions about Reagan as an actor, as a movement leader and as a diplomat, fewer observers recall that much of his career revolved around working as a politician. Indeed, this might be one of his most important contributions to the history of conservatism: Reagan fused the ideas and values of modern conservatism with the practicalities of governance…READ MORE

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