Prayers and silence mark Titanic centenary

By Lefteris Pitarakis

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, April 15 2012 8:10 a.m. MDT

Remembrance ceremonies also were being held in the ship's departure port of Southampton, southern England — home to hundreds of Titanic crew who perished — and in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where more than 100 victims of the tragedy are buried.

The most famous maritime disaster in history was being marked even in places without direct links to it.

Venues in Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston and Singapore are hosting Titanic exhibitions that include artifacts recovered from the site of the wreck. Among the items: bottles of perfume, porcelain dishes, and a 17-foot piece of hull.

Helen Edwards, one of 1,309 passengers on the Balmoral memorial cruise who have spent the past week steeped in the Titanic's history and symbolism, said the story's continuing appeal was due to its strong mixture of romance and tragedy, history and fate.

"(There are) all the factors that came together for the ship to be right there, then, to hit that iceberg. All the stories of the passengers who ended up on the ship," said Edwards, a 62-year-old retiree from Silver Spring, Maryland. "It's just a microcosm of social history, personal histories, nautical histories.

"Romance is an appropriate word right up until the time of the tragedy — the band playing, the clothes. And then there's the tragedy."

As the world paused to remember the victims, a U.S. official revealed that there may be human remains embedded in the ocean floor where Titanic came to rest.

James Delgado, director of maritime heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, said Saturday that one photograph taken during a 2004 expedition shows a coat and boots in the mud. He said the way the items are laid out makes a "compelling case" that it is where "someone has come to rest."

Delgado released the full image this week to coincide with the disaster's centenary. It was previously seen in a cropped version.

Jill Lawless reported from London. She can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless

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