Stories From Main Street: Honoring A 9/11 Hero
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NYC Remembers 9/11
UPPER NYACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A man who went from civilian to hero on Sept. 11, 2001 is having his story retold in a new documentary.
As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported, 24-year-old Welles Crowther has come to be known as the man in the red bandana for sacrificing his own life to help save several people on that day.
Crowther’s red bandana will be among the hundreds of artifacts and personal effects that will be on display when the National Sept. 11 Museum opens in the spring.
The story of Welles Crowther is also being told in a new documentary.
“It’s very special and very beautiful. It really means a tremendous amount to us,” his mother Allison Crowther told Adams.
Months after the terror attacks, the Crowthers learned of their son’s bravery and valor. Survivors spoke of a mysterious savior with a red bandana over his face, Adams reported.
He always carried such a handkerchief just like his father, Adams reported.
“From a very, very young early age, he demonstrated so many of the qualities and traits of the man he became,” Jeff Crowther, Welles’ father, said.
“I just was so proud of him because it all became sort of clear what he did. And to know this story was such a gift,” Allison Crowther said.
Welles Crowther was a volunteer firefighter in Rockland County but worked as a trader in the World Trade Center.
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Matthew Weiss, an attorney and family friends with the Crowthers, said he was so moved by the story that he asked if he could make a documentary.
“He went from the 104th floor down to the 78th, which is pretty much crash location where many of the victims were located,” said Weiss. “Helped people get down, carrying a woman on his back from 78 to 61, then he went from 61 back to 78. So he went up 17 flights in a burning building. Helped another group, started down four, five flights and went back up.”
Weiss said it’s important to him to have Welles Crowther’s legacy go on so his heroism is not forgotten.
“There are songs written about Welles, artwork, poems. A young man had a Bar Mitzvah with a red bandana theme and a speech about Welles. There are ministers and pastors who’ve sermonized about Welles, there are babies named after Welles,” Weiss said. “The story of selflessness, of heroism, of courageousness.”
Welles’ sister has written a children’s book and his parents have developed a school curriculum inspired his heroism. They also raise funds and grant scholarships in their son’s name.
“He really made a difference and saved lives,” Allison Crowther said.
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