9/11 Heroes

Alexis Anderson, Contributor

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9/11 was one of the most devastating disasters in the U.S. It not only caused a sense of shock and sadness throughout the country, but it also caused a fear to subside in the hearts of the people living here. This fear is of the unknown, this fear of what the future holds in store, of danger, and a fear concerning the actions of others. Still, there are many people who did not give into this fear when faced with the challenge against evil; they rose instead of backing down. 9/11 is one of the most respected days and is a day, as a nation, we celebrate the lives of those who died and celebrate a national day of service and remembrance.

One of the most well-known heroes of 9/11 happens to be Welles Crowther, the man in the red bandanna. One morning as Welles was getting ready for church services his father gave him two handkerchiefs, red and white, “one for blowin’ and one showin’ “. Co-worker always teased him about this red bandanna sitting on his desk and Crowther would joke back saying that some day his bandanna would save the world and, in a way, it had. Crowther grew up in a home of firefighters and was always around fire trucks, so danger was not new to him. He was working on the 104th floor of the South tower when the first plane hit. Welles quickly called his mother and told her he was fine and would see her soon. Little did he know, that would be the last thing he ever said to her. He carried an injured woman down 17 flights of stairs , and went back up to help some others.  His body was eventually recovered among those of firefighters at a command center in the South Tower’s lobby — mere steps from escape (The New York Times). No one knew who this man was, they could only identify him as the man in the red bandanna that spoke calmly and with authority. His story was so loved that a movie and book were created, telling his story to help spread of the knowledge of his heroic actions.

Another account of a person showing immense bravery was that of  17-year veteran Officer Moira Smith of NYPD. She was the first female to respond to the terrorist attack. Officer Smith was helping save hundreds when the tower collapsed. A radio was heard in a female voice asking for help and was identified as Smith’s. Her body was found in March of 2002 (lawofficer.com). She left behind a 2-year-old daughter and husband, who can never forget her service.

Aplus.com recorded Senator John McCain as saying, “It is now believed that the terrorists on Flight 93 intended to crash the airplane into the United States Capitol, where I work, the great house of democracy where I was that day. It is very possible that I would have been in the building, with a great many other people, when that fateful, terrible moment occurred, and a beautiful symbol of our freedom was destroyed along with hundreds if not thousands of lives. I may very well owe my life to … and the others who summoned the enormous courage and love necessary to deny those depraved, hateful men their terrible triumph. Such a debt you incur for life.” He was acknowledging the many fearless lives that gave theirs to save many others. From this incident we now have the common phrase, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.”

Aplus.com also told the story of  Rick Rescorla, who ignored instructions to stay at his desk and helped many individuals leave, calmly. As he was escorting hundreds to safety, he sang songs from his native hometown, Cornwall, England. He called his wife, “Stop crying,” he said. “I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.”

Humans are not the only beings to be considered to be heroes during the dreadful experience; or months after, dogs were also reported to have saved people in the Twin Towers and helped search for survivors afterwards. Bretagne was one of the oldest living dogs, a “therapy” dog sent from Texas, that helped at the Search-and-Rescue for survivors in New York. She would comfort the many struggling Search and Rescue members as they realized the intensity of their task. She is the oldest dog that survived that day. There was a huge celebration in remembrance of her marvelous deeds. Since Bretagne needed to be put down due to complications, she was given the heroes send-off and was escorted to the animal hospital with service vehicles. As she was walked up the steps to the hospital doors she was saluted by men in service and applauded by crowds lining the streets.

These are just a few of the many people that risked their lives to save many others and, in the process, became known as heroes. They showed the world that America stands tall and that she will not back down. We sill stay strong and will not go down without a fight.

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