In the 13 years since the September 11 attacks, you’ve no doubt heard countless stories of individual selflessness and sacrifice from that day. On this 9/11 anniversary, we’d like to share a story that may have escaped your notice over these years, despite the fact that it is epic in scale.
This 11-minute, Tom Hanks-narrated short documentary tells the tale of the Great Boatlift of 9/11, in which hundreds of vessels—ferries, tugboats, party boats, yachts, private vessels, tour boats—rapidly descended on Manhattan to help enormous crowds of stranded people leave the island. It was a remarkable demonstration of humanity’s better instincts—and of spontaneous order. With no prior planning, this huge array of vessels rapidly organized itself into what would become the largest sea evacuation in history—even larger than the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II—transporting nearly half a million desperate people in just about nine hours.
The determination of the boat captains and crew to do the right thing is heart-warming, and their words should serve as inspiration to those who are determined to overcome both hidden agendas and obvious dishonesty to someday deliver all the facts of 9/11 to the nation and the world.
Robin Jones, Engineer, Mary Gellatly
“I have one theory in life: I never want to say the words ‘I should have.’ If I do it and I fail, I tried.”
Vincent Ardolino, Captain, Amberjack V