20 Years Later…
20 years after 9/11/2001, we remember the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice. These heroes represent the finest values of our country. As we approach this weekend, it is our duty as Americans to honor those who have fallen as a result of 9/11, the active first responders who risk their lives everyday, their families, and the ones continually defending our freedoms overseas.
On a day that brought so much tragedy to the United States, glimpses of heroism show the true commitment to country and the call to duty. Here are the stories of 3 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11:
“My father gave up his life in the line of duty, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way,” son Chris Ganci, now an FDNY firefighter, wrote in his book “Chief: The Life Of Peter J. Ganci, A New York City Firefighter.” “He died doing what every firefighter in New York City did that day without question. … No way he would have left with all his guys still inside.” -via Investor’s Daily Business (IBD).
According to the article in IBD, Ganci’s job was to oversee 15,000 uniformed firefighters, and on 9-11, when he saw the North Tower burning from his headquarters’ office, he jumped into action. The following, from that same article, depicts some of his heroic actions on September 11:
“‘The men who were there with my dad remember seeing him shouting orders and picking guys up and pushing them out of the area,’ Chris Ganci wrote. ‘Everyone thought he was headed out, too, but when they looked back they saw him heading right back into the chaos. He would not leave his men inside.’ Ganci and his men set up his command post where he oversaw the rescue efforts. Then, at 9:59 a.m., the South Tower collapsed. Ganci and his men ran into the basement of another World Trade Center building, 2 World Financial, for shelter. After a few minutes they found an exit and dug their way out of the debris from the South Tower.
Ganci then set up a command post in front of the North Tower, and used a multichannel radio that he found to continue directing the evacuation effort. Thousands of civilians poured out, but it was a race against time.
‘There was talk about collapse, they were aware — very aware — that these buildings could come down,’ DeFazio said. ‘That’s why they worked so hard to get everyone out.’
At 10:28 a.m. the North Tower collapsed, killing those still in the building, and those immediately outside of it, along with Ganci and his aides at the command post.
On 9/11, Chief Peter Ganci’s death was perhaps inevitable.
‘He was always a lead-from-the-front kind of person,’ Chris Ganci said.
Read more about Peter at the following links:
Chief Peter Ganci Died Leading Rescue Efforts At 9/11’s Ground Zero, from Investor’s Business Daily.
Roll of Honor, from firehero.org.
WTC Survivors Profile, from CNN.
“On September 11, 2001, Stephen, who was assigned to Brooklyn’s Squad 1, had just finished his shift and was on his way to play golf with his brothers when he got word over his scanner of a plane hitting the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Upon hearing the news, Stephen called his wife Sally and asked her to tell his brothers he would catch up with them later. He returned to Squad 1 to get his gear.
Stephen drove his truck to the entrance of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, but it had already been closed for security purposes. Determined to carry out his duty, he strapped 60 lbs. of gear to his back, and raced on foot through the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he gave up his life while saving others.”
For the article, author and family friend Jay Price wrote:
“Every momentous event, even a tragedy, has its symbolic figures. September 11th was no different; it just had a few more of them. Rudy Giuliani, Father Mychal Judge, the four guys on United Flight 93 … a hundred more … a thousand. None bigger than Stephen Siller, whose stature only grows with time as New Yorkers and people from around the world follow his footsteps.”
“I see this incredible hero, running back and forth and saving the day… People can live 100 years and not have the compassion, the wherewithal to do what he did.”
— Judy Wein, who credits Crowther with directing her and several others on the 78th floor to safety on September 11, from CNN.com.
The documentary Man in Red Bandana depicts Crowther’s heroic actions on September 11. From their website comes this account:
“Eyewitnesses reported that, after the plane had hit into the Sky Lobby, a man suddenly appeared ‘out of nowhere’. He was stripped to his T-shirt and wearing a red bandanna to cover his nose and mouth, protection against the smoke and debris.
This man organized a rescue effort on the floors high above where the official rescue workers were able to reach. He called for fire extinguishers, he found and directed dazed and confused victims to the only stairwell that was open for escape, and he carried a woman down to the 61st floor, then returned to the 78th floor to rescue more people. He turned back up once again after bringing the second group of survivors down.
Eyewitnesses report that the man spoke calmly, with authority, and was obviously well trained. He is reported to have saved many lives that day.
Knowing that her son always carried a red bandanna in his back right pocket, Welles’ mother believed that the description of the mysterious man fit her son: his character, his training and his likely location at the time. She sent recent photographs of her son to the eyewitnesses.
The witnesses confirmed that Welles Crowther was the ‘Man in the Red Bandanna’ who helped to save their lives and others on September 11th.”
Though Crowther wasn’t a firefighter by career, in the New York Times article, Saved on 9/11, by the Man in the Red Bandanna, we learn Welles Crowther was named an honorary firefighter for his actions:
“In 2006, the New York City Fire Department named Welles Crowther an honorary firefighter. He was also mentioned by President Barack Obama at a 2014 dedication ceremony for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan.”