The Titanic: Remembering More Than the Hit Movie

Men's Titanic Society remembers the bravery with unique toast in DC

Thursday was the 98th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, but the ill-fated iceberg incident began on the night of April 14.

Just after midnight early Thursday morning, a small bus pulled up to the little-known Titanic Memorial that stands along the Washington Channel near Fourth and P streets in Southwest, just outside of the Ft. McNair walls.

Emerging from the bus were almost two dozen men -- most with journalism careers dating back 50 years and more -- who all wore tuxedos and had just finished a dinner that mirrored the final night dinner on the Titanic.

For 31 years, members of the invitation-only group have gathered at the memorial to toast "the brave men" on the Titanic, who gave up their places on lifeboats -- of which there were too few -- to save as many women and children as possible.

The ceremony began at NBC's offices on Nebraksa Avenue in 1979, when several journalists put together a story about the little-known monument, which once stood where the Kennedy Center is today. On a lark, the group grabbed some flowers from the front of the NBC/WRC-TV building, got some champagne and went down to make their first toast. They've been doing it every April 14 since.

"To the Brave Men -- hear, hear!" they say in unison as each participant recalls a portion of the tragic story. A ship's bell is rung.

When they're finished, they fade into the night.

Put April 14, 2011, on your calendar. It's something you might want to see yourself.

Contact Us