Titanic – Part I: It Was Sad When the Great Ship Went Down

by Kathy on April 11, 2012 · 4 comments

in Background, Bereavement, Bob, Camp Echo, Grief, Life, Loss, Memories, Milestones, Sadness, Song Lyrics, Summer Camp, Time, Titanic, TV Shows

As you probably know/have heard, this week marks the 100th Anniversary of the RMS Titanic setting sail on April 10, 1912. On April 14th it hit an iceberg and sunk a little after 2:00 a.m. on April 15th.

Bob and I have been recording and watching almost every documentary about the Titanic we can find on TV this week and there are plenty to choose from. We especially enjoyed Titanic with Len Goodman (yes, the head judge on Dancing with the Stars) that aired on PBS last night. My mom had tipped us off that according to an article in the New York Times that it was said to be the best of the bunch. We also watched one earlier this evening with Sean that ran on the National Geographic Channel Save the Titanic with Bob Ballard (he was part of the expedition team that discovered the remains of Titanic in 1985).

I have been intrigued and fascinated by the story of the Titanic, learning about the passengers and their fate for as long as I can remember.

As I will share in my next post, in eighth grade one of my friends and I did a big research project about the Titanic. Working on our “exploration” project about the Titanic is still one of my favorite memories of learning and school during my teenage years.

One of my earliest memories related to Titanic was learning a song at YMCA Camp Echo in Fremont, MI which I attended for two weeks every summer (except for one) from 1986 – 1992 (the summer before 6th grade through the summer before my senior year in high school).

When I think back I can usually call the chorus and some of the verses to mind, but when I started writing this post I was not able to remember all of the words. So I Googled the lyrics and was surprised and interested to find all the variations that exist. I had to combine the lyrics from a few different versions to get what I recall being taught and singing at Camp Echo many years ago.

So though of course I find the tragedy of the Titanic to be very sad, I also appreciate being able to find comic relief in the midst of sorrow. I hope no one takes offense to the lyrics of this song and sees the good fun that I believe they were intended to be when they were written.

I plan to write another post about the Titanic in the coming days and possibly more than one.

In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with the descendents of those whose lives were ended and/or touched by Titanic’s fate. It was definitely “sad when the great ship went down.”


The Titanic

Oh, they built the ship Titanic
To sail the ocean blue,
And they thought they had a ship
That the water wouldn’t go through.
But the good Lord raised his hand
Said the ship will never land,
It was sad when the great ship went down.

Oh, it was sad, so sad,
It was sad, too bad!

It was sad when the great ship went down
To the bottom of the sea-ea-ea-ea
(Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives)
It was sad when the great ship went down.

O they were not far from shore,
When they heard that mighty roar
And the rich refused to
Associate with the poor.
So they put them down below
Where they’d be the first to go,
It was sad when the great ship went down.


The boat was about to sink,
And the sides about to burst,
When the captain shouted,
“Women and children first!”
The captain tried to wire,
But the lines were all on fire,
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Oh, they swung the lifeboats out
O’er the deep and raging sea,
When the band struck up with,
“Nearer My God to Thee.”
Little children wept and cried,
As the waves swept o’er the side,
It was sad when the great ship went down.


Oh, the moral of this story
Is very clear to see.
Always wear a life-preserver
When you go out to sea!
So if your ship goes down,
You will never, ever drown,
It was sad when the great ship went down.



Have you heard and/or sung this song about the Titanic before?

What early memories do you have related to the Titanic?


Cross-posted on BlogHer.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori Lavender Luz April 11, 2012 at 11:30 pm

This is such a fascinating story. Almost mythical in its bigness. I read the National Geographic story on it and was immersed (haha) in how it must have been to be on there.

Hadn’t hear of that song. What’s the tune like? In my head it’s kind of irish jiggy.
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2 loribeth April 16, 2012 at 10:51 am

Never heard the song!!

I may write my own Titanic post. My memories of the movie are very much tied up with my pregnancy.
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3 ron hilburn October 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

My grandmother used to sing this song with all her children friends after the titanic went down.


4 Scott Randall April 6, 2017 at 8:53 pm

I have a 78 record of the song


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