Titanic Memorial remembers sinking 100 years ago

The unthinkable and unsinkable happened a century ago on Sunday.

No, it wasn’t the first income tax day.

The Titanic, the largest ship ever made to date, sank on its maiden voyage when hitting an iceberg. More than 1,500 people died when there wasn’t enough lifeboats.

The memorial next to Fort McNair overlooking the Washington Channel near 4th and P Sts. SW is granite and sculpted by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The architect was Henry Bacon, who you might know from building the Lincoln Memorial. The 18-foot male is shown with outstretched arms to symbolize selflessness of the men who gave up their spots in the lifeboats to women and children. The 20-ton base is granite from Massachusetts.

The Women’s Titanic Memorial Association commissioned the memorial in 1931 when it was unveiled by former First Lady Helen Taft, who was the first of 25,000 donors for the memorial that included the Carnegies, Rockerfellers and Hearts. It was moved in 1966 to make way for the John F. Kennedy Center and, after two years in storage, was moved aside Ft. McNair.

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