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Westchester Historian Reflects on Titanic Tragedy

ARMONK, N.Y. – Exactly 100 years to this day, the RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 1,500 people. George Waterbury, the former Mount Pleasant town historian, was born 10 years later and remembers hearing about the tragedy from his parents and teachers.

“Growing up everyone talked about it because it was such a major American tragedy at the time,” Waterbury recalled. “There were so many people on that ship, and so many of them that were lost were people who were wealthy and famous in that society.”

Waterbury, 89, is a lifelong Mount Pleasant resident. His family has roots in the Armonk area and is the former owner of Waterbury Farms.

He was once involved in what could have been a tragedy at sea, but he says it doesn’t compare to what happened on Titanic.

“I was once on a cruise ship in the 1970s, and we got stuck in a bad storm off the coast of the Carolinas. And when the ship was being tossed around, some people – about 40 or so – were injured with broken arms, legs and things like that,” said Waterbury, a Navy veteran of World War II. “And that was scary. So I can’t even imagine what it would have been like for those people on the Titanic.”

Many filmgoers will see a version of that experience this weekend at the new 3D version of James Cameron’s critically acclaimed film "Titanic." But Waterbury says the film is not for him.

“I’ve never been interested in seeing the film,” Waterbury said. "It’s too much of a sad story."

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