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Monday marks the 22-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and there’s two stories every American should know.
What started as a normal Tuesday ended with a nation at war, thousands of Americans dead and citizens across the country worried and wondering how the USA would respond.
The homeland had been struck. The Twin Towers had fallen, the Pentagon had been struck and a plane went down in Pennsylvania when the heroes on it decided to rush the cockpit instead of letting it be used as a weapon against a target likely in our nation’s capital.
There’s two stories I always remember on 9/11, and it’s the story of Welles Crowther and the one of the men tasked with handing out justice in the aftermath.
Welles Crowther helped people escape death on 9/11.
One of the most emotional and powerful stories of heroism on 9/11 is the story of “The Man in the Red Bandana.”
Welles Crowther was in the South Tower when it was struck, and used a red bandana to help people see where he was so they could escape.
Crowther had already made the decision he was going to leave his finance job prior to 9/11 to become a firefighter, but never had the chance to carry out that dream. The former Boston College lacrosse player gave his life helping complete strangers survive on this day 22 years ago.
While 9/11 is certainly a day of unimaginable horror, it’s important to remember all those who stepped up to help those around them. Welles Crowther could have ran to safety. Instead, he made it his mission in the South Tower to help as many as he could. His decision cost him his life, but not before he helped countless people to safety. That’s the kind of American spirit that is simply unbeatable.
September 11 is an opportunity to remember the men who handed out justice.
On the other side of the coin, 9/11 is a great time to remember and honor all the men who stepped up and took the fight to al-Qaeda and the people who harbored them around the world.
There’s countless stories to tell, but there’s one that always sticks out to me. Former Unit (also commonly known as Delta Force) operator Brad Thomas shared with me what I truly consider one of the most powerful stories I’ve ever heard about carrying forward the legacy of those lost.
A box of patches from killed NYC firefighters arrived at his team’s headquarters in North Carolina, and the message was clear:
Go kill the people responsible for 9/11, and that’s exactly what the men of The Unit and lots of other military units did. Brad wore the patch of a killed firefighter into war and years later returned it to the firehouse the man worked at.
There are certainly a lot more stories like Brad’s, and he’ll be the first to tell you he’s not a special guy (I think he and all his teammates are awesome Americans). He’s an incredibly humble man, but he and his teammates spent years tracking down the people responsible for 9/11 and putting them in the ground. There are lots of men like him at the Tier One level, and trust me when I say they got it on after 9/11 to avenge all those lost.
On the 22-year anniversary of the worst terror attack in American history, take a moment to remember all those who were lost and those who stepped up and started killing bad guys. It was a dark and painful day, but it also was a great example of what America can be under pressure.