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Historic day approaching for Titanic fans in D.C.

Wednesday - 4/4/2012, 11:24am  ET

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In approving its design, the Washington Fine Arts Commission described the 15-foot-tall figure as a man of noble proportions 'exemplifying a willing sacrifice, a smiling welcome to death.' (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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WASHINGTON - The 100th anniversary of the April 15 sinking of the Titanic soon will be honored by history buffs, descendants and historical societies around the world -- not to mention movie fans who can now head to the theater to catch James Cameron's 1997 epic movie in 3-D.

A remembrance also will take place next week in Washington, which is home to one of few Titanic memorials.

It stands along the waterfront in Southwest, just a short walk from the intersection of 4th and P streets. The memorial, designed by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, depicts a man on a pedestal with arms outstretched in a symbol of sacrifice.

The inscription carved in the front of the monument reads, "To the brave men who perished in the wreck of the Titanic April 15, 1912. They gave their lives that women and children might be saved."

When the ship sank off the coast of Newfoundland during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, 1,517 passengers and crew died.

The statue was dedicated in 1931 and may have inspired a scene in the 1997 movie "Titanic." When it was first dedicated, the memorial sat along Rock Creek Parkway.

The Southwest D.C. Heritage Project will honor those who lost their lives in the shipwreck at a 7 p.m. ceremony on April 14 in Waterfront Park.

WTOP's Michelle Basch contributed to this report. Follow Michelle and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)