Lest We Forget: The Great Boatlift Of 9/11
It’s a little known part of what happened on 9/11 in lower Manhattan, but nothing better exemplifies the spirit of the American people.
In the shocking immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, while the smoke and dust was so thick in the air it was almost impossible to breathe and every bridge and tunnel off the island of Manhattan was blocked, a call went out on the marine radio:
“All available boats, this is the United States Coastguard aboard the pilot boat New York. Anyone wanting to help with the evacuation of lower Manhattan, report to Governor’s Island.”
What happened then was staggering.
At the famous World War II evacuation of Dunkirk, 339,000 British and French soldiers were rescued by boat over the course of nine days. It was the greatest water evacuation in human history . . . until 9/11. On that day private boats of every size, shape and description — virtually all of them piloted and crewed at great personal risk by untrained civilians operating in violation of dozens of marine regulations — converged on lower Manhattan to rescue nearly half a million people, and they did it in less than nine hours.
Click on the link above to watch the 11 minute documentary, Boatlift, narrated by Tom Hanks, and if you are an American, prepare to take great pride in your neighbors.