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Titanic survivor's son honors anniversary of tragedy

April 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is especially reflective for a Bellflower man. His mother was on board the ill-fated ship when it struck an iceberg and sank. But she was one of the lucky few who survived.

The modern-day Titanic cruise commemorates one of history's most legendary tales. But for Martin Lundi, the son of a Titanic survivor, it's also a tribute.

"She would be very pleased to know that they're going to have a memorial service over that spot," said Lundi.

Anna Sofia Turja left her small Finnish town and boarded the Titanic at age 18, bound for a domestic worker job in Ohio.

"She loved the Titanic," said Lundi. "She thought it was the most gorgeous thing she'd ever seen. She called it 'the floating city.'"

As the ship went down, taking more than 1,500 people with it, she clung to a lifeboat with other third-class passengers.

"The sounds that tormented her all of her life were the sounds of the dying and the crying and the moaning and those who were seeking help but didn't get it," said Lundi.

Turja was rescued seven hours later and taken to a hospital in New York. White Star Lines bought her a train ticket to Ohio, where she married and had seven children -- by all accounts, a good life, but one still haunted by the memories.

"The question that bothered my mother for many, many years, was 'Why would God save a poor Finish girl and allow so many wealthy people to perish?' Then I said, 'Think about your children and your grandchildren. You have grandchildren and children who are serving the Lord through their work in society.' And she never responded to that, except with a smile. And I think maybe, after all those years, she had that question answered."

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