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The Untold Story of the 9/11 Boatlift Evacuation

New York Boatlift
YouTube

Over a decade after September 11, 2001, we remember where we were. We remember who we were with and what we were doing. We remember the actions of the men and women in uniform who ran towards the fire and smoke. We remember those who went to work in the morning and did not come home. We also remember the actions of a number of brave men and women who didn’t run, but sailed, towards the unfolding disaster.

In the twelve years that have passed since September 11, 2001, a Facebook post from a childhood friend of mine late last night is the first I had heard of the New York Boatlift. It was the first I had heard of the hundreds of incredibly brave men and women who saw the smoke and turned their ships and boats toward the southern tip of Manhattan.

As chaos reigned on the island, these seamen calmly evacuated over half a million people in just nine hours who literally could go no further. These people were caught between the smoke and ash cloud advancing from the wreckage just a couple of blocks north and the water of New York Harbor.

These sailors were, for the most part, not trained for mass evacuations. They were just regular working folks who saw a way to help. This documentary is an incredibly moving tribute to their efforts.

As we pause today to remember our brave men and women in uniform, firefighters and police officers, EMTs and paramedics, and our armed forces all across the world and at home who gave their lives, let’s not forget the regular people who rose above the chaos to help each other as well. Let’s not forget the people who are still defending our freedom and protecting our homes, locally in East Texas, across our nation, and around the world.

We remember everyone who did not come home. Below, the names of 2,977 people were killed in the World Trade Center in New York; the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and on United Airlines flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania:

Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories below.

Photo by Aaron Savage
Photo by Aaron Savage
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