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Staff writer A bell recovered from the RMS Titanic will be rung for the first time in 88 years in a unique event to usher in 2000 in Nagoya. The brass bell was recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic, at a depth of more than 4,000 meters, in 1998. Andrew Quinn, the U.S. consul general to Nagoya, will ring out the last 10 seconds of 1999 and ring in the new year, the first time the bell has been sounded since the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, during her maiden voyage between the English port of Southampton and New York. Matt Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the Titanic Exhibition Japan, said, “Titanic continues to capture the hearts and imagination of people all over the world, as she reveals more secrets and treasures of human nature.” The significance of using a bell recovered from the vessel, he added, is that the “Titanic makes us think of things which are important to each of us in a different light. The memories of the 1,523 people who lived, and died, on her decks and inside her holds will continue to inspire countless generations.” The bell was discovered deep inside the wreck of the Titanic — which was considered “unsinkable” by her designers — beside a watertight door close to the post room. Men of the Royal Post Office and the U.S. Postal Service were attempting to move the sacks of mail to higher decks when their section was flooded, making them some of the first to die in the tragedy. According to Taylor, the sound of the alarm bell — which they were never meant to hear — would probably have been the last thing they heard. In total, 1,523 men, women and children of the 2,223 people aboard the Titanic died. “The last decade of this century has been spent feverishly trying to unravel the mysteries of the Titanic,” Taylor said, “while also giving closure to the surviving families of this great tragedy.” He added that it had been a long-standing request of the families of the victims that if the Titanic was ever located, an expedition would be organized with three objectives: 1) To recover items that would preserve the memories of those lost with her; 2) To find clues and establish what really happened during her final hours; 3) And to recover any personal belongings that would establish the presence of and identify anyone whose name was not included on the original passenger list, and inform their surviving relatives. To date, the names of six people who simply vanished more than 80 years ago, possibly stowaways or people who only boarded at the last minute and were unable to inform their relatives, have been added to the list of those who were known to have died. “This event is the only place in the world where an official Titanic commemorative event is being staged to mark the end of one century and the start of another,” Taylor said. The bell-ringing ceremony will take place at the foot of the Nagoya TV Tower in the city’s Central Park, where an exhibition of recently recovered Titanic artifacts is being held until Jan. 10. The Web site for the Titanic Exhibition Japan is www.titanic.co.

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