A Titanic Hero
After completing a book -- The Truth About Chickamauga -- which chronicles one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, and in which his father, a Brigadier General, fought, Archibald Gracie IV rewarded himself with a trip to Europe, booking his return passage on the RMS Titanic.
Awakened by “a sudden shock and noise forward on the starboard side" just before midnight on April 14, 1912, Gracie learned that the Titanic had struck an iceberg. In the time between the collision and its sinking, Gracie helped the crew load lifeboats and made sure that a number of women traveling alone got spaces on them. Pulled beneath the water, Gracie surfaced and spotted a lifeboat, which he managed to reach, helping several other men onto the safety of the lifeboat.
After the tragedy, Gracie began work on a book about the sinking of the Titanic. However, eight months later he became the first adult survivor to die from health issues brought about by his ordeal. Gracie’s last words were reported to be, “We must get them into the boats. We must get them all into the boats.” Buried in the clothes he was wearing when rescued, as per his request, many Titanic survivors attended his funeral. Gracie’s book, “Titanic, A Survivor’s Story” was published posthumously.
Gracie is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York, with his wife and of his daughters. His family's ancestral home serves as The New York City mayor’s residence.
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