Sandra Gregory stood amongst a crowd of hundreds inside the Fairview Lawn Cemetery on a warm Sunday afternoon.
The Halifax woman was there, like the others, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of sinking of the Titanic and the close tie the tragedy has to this city.
“It’s our responsibility to commemorate this tragedy,” she said in an interview. “If we don’t who will? We laid to rest many of these souls, we have to commemorate their lives.”
The sun shined down on the afternoon service as children stood in the site holding roses they would later place on the graves of 121 victims lost when the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912. Overall, there are 150 Titanic passengers and crew buried in three Halifax cemeteries, with 42 victims never identified.
“We remember those who rest in our midst and all of the Titanic’s tragic victims,” George Jordan, host of the interfaith service, said to the crowd. “The victims are people from all walks of life, of many nationalities and many religions.”
Musical guests in the hour-long ceremony included Louis Benoit, Zara Young Women’s Choir and Pipe Sgt. Brian Morrison. All of the songs carried the theme of remembrance and hope.
There were also several dignitaries on hand, including Nova Scotia Lt-Gov. John James Grant and Defence Minister Peter MacKay, along with sea and air cadets and representation from the RCMP.
“Over the decade the Titanic has symbolized many things,” MacKay told the crowd. “For some, it symbolizes human courage and sacrifice. It touched the lives of so many here in this province. No Canadian province more affected than Nova Scotia, no city more so than Halifax. We continue to have a strong connection to the Titanic disaster, headstones here are a stark reminder for those who lost their lives, forever linking the city with the tragedy that is Titanic.”
Halifax’s Barbara Mclean took time to after the service to walk along side the graves with her husband. She wasn’t alone.
“It is important, so they are never forgotten,” Mclean said. “There are so many things we’ve learned from the Titanic going down.”