When research helped reveal the truth, that the ship's gates had indeed been locked, dooming poor passengers to their death, it haunted me. Less than 32% of the total passengers and crew survived. How many might have, if they'd been given a chance to fight for their lives? How did it feel, being behind locked bars, while the ship sank with no way to escape?
My father had been born a few days after the Titanic sank, the same year, so I had his birthdate as a reminder, but I had been too moved by details of the tragic event to ever forget.
Now, one hundred years later, the media coverage is probably more intense than it was back then, when the disaster actually happened. So much attention has been focused on the event, that I think we tend to forget the human aspect of the sinking.
What was it like? One can barely imagine the terror of being in the midst of the sea and having your safety snatched away in the dark. Fill your tub with water as cold as you can make it, and dump in ice. The seas that night were home to icebergs. Climb into the tub, fully clothed, and see how long it takes before you begin to shiver. Then think about the fact that out there in the ocean, there is no bottom to touch -- if you want to live. You can't climb out when you're tired. You have to stay there, keeping yourself afloat on whatever you can find in the water. Sharks did not swim that far north - it was too cold for them. Most people died within minutes of entering the water, and most, but not all, sank to the bottom. Some floated in the sea, and were later pulled out and taken ashore for burial. One hundred-fifty were buried in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
As a result of this ship's sad tale, maritime law changed. Safety regulations sharpened, and the event made people swear to never let such a tragedy happen again. There have been sinkings since, and deaths, but Titanic still ranks among the top ten disasters at sea, in regards to lives lost.
For more on disasters at sea, you may want to read these articles:
Was the Sinking of the Titanic the Worst Sea Disaster
Worst Cruise Ship Disasters