NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — This week’s 50 People to Know shares the story of the 9/11 hero Welles Crowther, known to New York and the nation as “the man in the red bandana.”
The 24-year-old equities trader from Rockland County died in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, but not before helping numerous groups of workers in the southern tower down the stairwells to safety. In all, he took three trips up into the building to rescue people. He was easy to spot because of his confident manner in the midst of the chaos and because he wore a red bandana to help him breathe through all the smoke. The red bandana was his calling card — a childhood gift from his father. Crowther, as it turned out, was a volunteer firefighter and was simply doing what other heroes did on that day. He was saving lives with no regard for his own personal safety.
Crowther’s story is well known. It was the subject of an ESNP documentary, books and other programs. President Barack Obama even told his tale at the opening of the National September 11 Museum and Memorial.
But this 50 People to Know isn’t about Welles, it’s about his younger sister, Honor.
A short time after the 9/11 attacks, Honor Crowther Fagan decided to put some of her thoughts onto paper about her older brother. Years later, those words provided the basis for a children’s book called “The Man in the Red Bandana.” She told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams the book is a way to start a conversation about the tragic events of September 11th. She hopes parents can use it as a gentle teaching tool about the terrible day.
“If this book can do the job of helping parents explain a devastating part of our history, then I have done my job,” she said.
The publisher lists the following description for the book: “When Welles Crowther was a young boy, his father gave him a red bandana, which he always carried with him. On September 11, 2001, Welles Remy Crowther saved numerous people from the upper floors of the World Trade Center South Tower. ‘The Man in the Red Bandana’ recounts and celebrates his heroism on that day. Welles’ story carries an inspirational message that will resonate with adults as well as young children.”
“I wanted a way to memorialize my brother in a sense of goodness and brightness instead of sadness and grief,” Honor told Adams. “That’s what this book became. A way to turn that grief into something that’s extraordinary.”
“In a day and age when social media allows us to be very selfish people, it’s very important to look out from yourself and realize that there’s a whole wide world out there, and we can’t always be thinking about me, me, me. There is an opportunity always to think about the other person,” she added.
Honor is helping to share a story we all hope will live forever.