The Tiny Titanic Tree

The Tiny Titanic Tree!  Titanic Cemetery Sugar Maple Tree

Springvale Nurseries has been honored by being asked to donate a Canadian Sugar Maple Tree for the “Titanic Burial Grounds” (Fairview Lawn Cemetery) in Halifax where 121 of the titanic victims are buried.  This was done on April 14th, 2012 as part of the celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of this historic and tragic event and the role Halifax played in the drama.

We finally made it to see the tree in the cemetery and take its picture yesterday, so if this seems like “Old News”…..sorry!

My grandparents, Lawrence and Ruth Milne both grew up near the Halifax area. Grampy’s roots were in Lake Egmont and Grammy’s youth was in Dartmouth.

Both have been gone for many years but I remember them talking about the Titanic disaster, and the Halifax Explosion and what life was like at that time.

The following excerpt has been taken from Michael R. Nejman’s blog, click here for the full article.

“For 150 victims of the Titanic, Halifax, Nova Scotia (on the East Coast of Canada) proved to be the final stop for the doomed voyage. Thanks to James Cameron’s cinematic “Titanic” (and Walter Lord’s classic minute-by-minute account of that fateful night, “A Night to Remember”), we all know what happened before, during, and moments after the ship sank. But what happened in the days to follow?

Before the survivors even arrived in New York, the first cable ship left Halifax to search for bodies. With 100 coffins, tons of ice, an undertaker and a chaplain, the Mackay-Bennett left on April 17, arriving on-site three days later. They found 306 bodies, so many that embalming fluid ran out and 116 had to be buried at sea. Another cable ship, Minia, departed Halifax on April 22, relieving the Mackay-Bennett and finding another 17 bodies. In all, four ships recovered 328 bodies and returned with 209 which were unloaded at the Coaling Wharf of the Naval Dockyard in Halifax. The class barriers, so typical of life on board the Titanic, were respected even in death. The bodies of first-class passengers were unloaded in the coffins, second-and third-class passengers in canvas bags, and the crew on open stretchers.

Only 59 of the bodies placed in the morgue were shipped out by train to their families. The remaining victims of the Titanic were buried in three Halifax cemeteries between May 1 and June 12, 1912. Nineteen are in the Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery, ten are in the Baron de Hirsch Jewish Cemetery and 121 are in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery. Of these, 42 victims remain unidentified.

Most of the gravestones, erected in the fall of 1912 and paid for by the White Star Line, are simple “black granite” blocks. In some cases, however, families, friends or other groups chose to commission a larger and more elaborate gravestone. Within the last year, there has been restoration work completed on the concrete footings (wall) surrounding the grave sites of the Titanic victims in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery.”

The tree is somewhat insignificant at about 6 ft. in height but nicely branched and sturdy.  The tiniest of trees has been chosen to honor the “Grandest of Ships” and one of the world’s “Greatest Disasters”. We would happily have donated one many times this size to commemorate the significance of this event in the history of Halifax and our country. How it must have impacted them at the time, as 9/11 has impacted us in our time.  The organizers preferred a small tree for photo ops and news broadcasts.

And in many ways a small tree is very fitting.  Because In 100 more years, when the 200th anniversary of the Titanic is celebrated, our little “Titanic Tree” will still be there long after we are gone and perhaps a new tree will be planted.

The tangible value of our donation is insignificant, but being given the honor of this very small place in history is “Priceless”.

Paul H Grimm


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