Grandchildren of Titanic passengers tell their story

Posted at: 04/15/2013 7:05 PM
Updated at: 04/15/2013 7:06 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It was supposed to be the unsinkable ship, but 101 years later, the Titanic still rests on the ocean floor.  Hundreds of artifacts are on display at the New Mexico Museum of History and Science. 

While there are no more living survivors, here in Albuquerque, grandchildren of passengers are telling their story for the first time.

Gail Garcia and John Thayer are from two different families, but are exploring the Titanic exhibit together as a way to better understand each of their family's stories of survival and tragedy from more than a century ago.

"In all her letters and interviews, she talks about hearing the screams of the people, and that's pretty much all she'll say, is the screams and the screams and then no more screams," Garcia said.

These are among horrific experiences Garcia's grandmother and Thayer's grandfather, Titanic survivors, never shared.

"It was never spoken about," Thayer said.

But Thayer's grandfather did write about it in 1940 before committing suicide.

"It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event which not only made the world rub it's eyes and awake, but woke it with a start," Thayer's grandfather wrote in his book.  "To my mind the world today awoke April 15,1912."

But even with the words and artifacts left behind, Thayer and Garcia still have many questions left unanswered.

"I wish I'd known... I wish I'd known my grandfather," Thayer said.

"What was going through your mind when you were sitting out in that boat freezing to death," is another question Garcia often wonders about.

The exhibit opened late March.

Already, nearly 12,000 people have attended and memberships for the museum have doubled.