Is it just me or were you also a tad perplexed by the Titanic Memorial Cruise ship that set sail Sunday with 1,309 passengers on board, the same number as were on the Titanic.
The ship intends to retrace the ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic's maiden voyage and stop on the exact spot where the unsinkable behemoth sank 100 years ago. And, quite a few passengers have actually dressed in period costumes for the occasion.
All this re-enacting and dressing up makes me wonder if:
– The captain of the modern craft will mimic his predecessor by disregarding iceberg warnings and cruise at full speed?
– Will he try to slide by the berg instead of ramming it head on (a maneuver many historians say would have damaged, but not sunk, the mighty Titanic).
– And, will the cruise line's owner re-enact White Star's Bruce Ismay shameful behavior that night and dress as a woman in order to escape on one of the few lifeboats?
It's all so bizarre. But, it's also a marketing bonanza for opportunists and a dress-up dream for reenactors gone wild.
So, why stop with re-enacting just the Titanic calamity? A cursory search reveals that April should be named Disaster Re-enactment Month. It's a veritable mother lode of epic tragedies, including:
– The San Francisco Earthquake. April 18, 1906. I think I'd dress as Enrico Caruso, who performed the night before the quake struck. “Mamma mia. This is some crazy city!”
– The Bataan Death March, which began on April 10, 1942. I'd dress as the ill-fated U.S. General Jonathan Wainwright. “I know we outnumber your Japanese army by more than three-to-one, but we're hungry.”
- The Bay of Pigs. April 17, 1961. I'll roll up my white dress shirt sleeves, play Bobby Kennedy and counsel the president not to rescue the hapless, U.S.-sponsored Cuban freedom fighters. “Let it go, Jack. Besides, er, ah, I have an idea for exploding cigars. We'll get Castro one way or another.”
The month of April also played host to:
– The Chernobyl nuclear disaster (April 26, 1982)
– The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (April 4, 1968)
– The Rodney King riots in South Central L.A. (April 29, 1992).
For serious reenactors like the crackpots on the Titanic Memorial Cruise, April is like Christmas in July! It's a fun-filled, 30-day period when they can recreate countless tragedies, dress in period costumes and live life to the fullest (while all the time dredging up memories of lives lost and families torn asunder). I ask you: is there a better way to spend a vacation?
“Hey honey. Hey kids. Don't forget to pack an extra stack of bibles as well. April 19th is the anniversary of the Branch Davidian disaster in Waco. That'll literally be a blast to re-enact!”