It was a very moving ceremony. I'd gone partly because I'd read that a wreath would be placed in the water and I wondered just how that would be done ... tossed from the 80-foot high bluff, hoping for high tide so that the wreath could reach water rather than plopping onto the sandy beach below?
Park Historian Bill Burke was one of four people who addressed the crowd. I liked it that in thanking us for coming to the ceremony he said we had chosen to come to an actual historical site, a real place; we weren't cruising the Internet; we weren't watching television; we weren't driving madly from yard-sale to yard-sale; we'd chosen to come stand in a place where something historical had occurred; and we'd come to help commemorate an historical tragedy. He also spoke of the gigantic leaps that had been made around the turn of the last two centuries ... first flight, first wireless, telephone, automobiles .. on and on.
Meanwhile, during the speeches, cadets from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, flanking a wreath, stood at ease outside the gazebo which stands at a high point of the bluff.
At the beginning and at the end of the ceremony a lone bagpiper played mournful tunes.
At the end of the speeches the cadets, bearing the wreath, marched down to the edge of the bluff. And, no, they did not toss it water-wards. Someone in history had come up with a dignified method; at a synchronized time, as the cadets lifted the wreath into the air, a 42-foot long U.S. Coast Guard boat not far offshore placed an identical wreath in the water.
At 42-feet, the Coast Guard boat was eight hundred and forty feet short of the length of the Titantic.
The ceremony ended with the bagpiper walking away as he played "Amazing Grace". To hear the beautiful hymn dwindling away -- fainter and fainter into a distance -- until it could not be heard at all, as the crowd stood silent and respectful, stirred my soul.
The ham operators attending this event will have been in touch with other operators all around the world; there is a protocol to this: those who make contact with the Marconi Site will send a card with their QSL designation confirming the contact; the park then will eventually mail its own QSL card to all those whom they'd heard from. Lo saluto, Guglielmo!