NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama honored the memory of a young man who saved others before losing his own life at the World Trade Center.
To many who were there, Welles Crowther was known simply as “the man in the red bandanna.”
Obama said the 24-year-old equities trader wore the red handkerchief over his nose and mouth while calmly leading survivors down the stairs to safety. He carried one woman on his shoulders down 17 flights.
“He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames, he tended to the wounded, he led those survivors down the stairs to safety,” the president said Thursday at the dedication ceremony of the new 9/11 museum. “Then he went back. Back up all those flights then back down again, bringing more wounded to safety.”
Obama said Crowther represents the “true spirit” of 9/11 — love, compassion and sacrifice.
“They didn’t know his name, they didn’t know where he came from but they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandanna,” he said.
One of the red bandannas he made a habit of carrying is now on display at the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
Crowther’s mother, Alison, told the audience she hoped it would remind visitors “how people helped each other that day, and that they will be inspired to do the same in ways both big and small. This is the true legacy of Sept. 11.”
By her side was Ling Young, one of the people Welles Crowther rescued.
“It was very hard for me to come here today,” but she wanted to thank his parents, she said.
The museum, which commemorates the 2001 terrorist attack, as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, will be open for six days around-the-clock to Sept. 11 survivors, victims’ relatives, first responders and lower Manhattan residents.
It opens to the public on May 21. The $24 admission will be waived for all visitors on opening day, but advance reservations are required.
There will be no admission charge for relatives of Sept. 11 victims or for rescue and recovery workers. Children age 6 and younger will get in free. Admission will be free for everyone on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The museum’s regular hours will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Officials say advanced reservations for tickets can be booked at 911memorial.org.
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