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Who Is That Man, Anyway?
Sculptor: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney
Location: Fort McNair
( P Street & 4th )
On its maiden voyage, the British ship Titanic hit an iceberg on April 15, 1912 and sank, taking with her over 1,500 people, including over three-quarters of the men on board. Great acts of self-sacrifice accompanied the sinking, as men gave up their seats aboard the lifeboats and, later, their life preservers to save the women and children.
The figure in the memorial is Self Sacrifice and represents the soul leaving the body as it dies. From certain angles, it looks like a seagull which, in marine legend, is the soul of a sailor lost at sea. The same image was used in the popular film, "Titanic", as the female lead Kate Winslet leans out over the bow of the ship, supported by actor Leonardo DeCaprio.
In a terrible irony of history, the sculptor lost her own brother aboard the Lusitania in 1915 when it was sunk by a German submarine.
Photos and text copyright © 2001 Jean K. Rosales and Michael R. Jobe, All Rights Reserved
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