The unsung tale of 9/11’s maritime rescuers


It’s been 18 years since the catastrophic events of 9/11. And every September we use to remember those who have fallen. Fathers, friends, first responders, the flight passengers who sacrifice themselves, they’re all heroes. And it’s our duty to pay them tribute as long as we live on Earth.

So, even if we may find ourselves divided is so many ways, those two decades proved that we, as a nation, are all bound forever by the touching words “Never forget.”

However, after 18 years, there is an unsung 9/11 tale that really deserve to be remembered. While we’ve all spoken about firefighters and officers and all those in the line of duty, this story is about ordinary citizens. Ordinary people who risked their lives to rescue more than 500,000 new-yorkers trapped at the southern tip of lower Manhattan, the New York Post reports.

After the Twin Tower collapsed, all the ways to the island of Manhattan have been shut down. All, except by boat. So without any mass evacuation plan, there was only one hope for all those people trapped: American mariners. And all started with “all available boats, this is the United States Coast Guard…”

Soon after was born a rescue effort that would became the largest water evacuation in history. In the end, more than half a million people have been evacuated, using more than 150 different vessel and around 800 American marines. To compare this, imagine that the second largest maritime evacuation was on Dunkirk, where around 340,000 have been rescued, during the World War II.

“We had like Noah’s Ark. We had everybody on that boat. We had animals. We had babies without parents. Everybody was covered in soot,” one of the mariners said.

“With the New York Harbor challenges of 9/11 itself where we took 500,000 people off the south end of Manhattan to safety and that was just the Coast Guard and the whole maritime community of the Port of New York and New Jersey, standing up and recognizing what needed to be done,” explained U.S. Coast Guard Admiral James Loy.

“We grabbed the Staten Island Ferry, the tour boat that goes around the Statue of Liberty and anything else that floated. And at the same time, we had rallied the wherewithal to take a half a million people, scared and frightened to death, through the Battery and off the southern tip of Manhattan. That’s an extraordinary story,” Admiral Jay added.

Maybe the most touching tribute to this unprecedented rescue operation, was paid by the Tom Hanks-narrated documentary “Boatlift: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience”