Unsung Heroes

Unsung Heroes

With the recent 10th anniversary of 9/11, our nation remembered and mourned the loss of so many lives on that tragic day. It was a horrible day for all Americans. Most of us could only watch the events unfold on TV and only help through our vigilant prayers.
I recently came across a small documentary entitled Boatlifters: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience. I was awestruck while witnessing strangers come together to help each other—humanity in one of its finer moments. 
On that day 10 years ago, every mode of transportation in and out of lower Manhattan was shut down—bridges, subways, tunnels—all except for boats. Stranded and desperate people were begging to be picked up at the water’s edge, some even attempting to swim to escape the unknown horror scene that played all around them.
The Coast Guard put out a call out for all boaters in the area to assist with evacuation. Hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes came together to rescue nearly 500,000 people in less than 9 hours. It’s the largest water evacuation in history.

 A hero is a man who is afraid to run away.
English proverb

Whatever evil was behind that massive loss of life that day only succeeded in bringing about warriors of compassion and pure human spirit. In the face of danger themselves, these boat captains dropped their concern for their own safety to rescue others. They are true, unsung heroes!

The ordinary man is involved in action, the hero acts. An immense difference.
Henry Miller

Photo by Bill Longshaw


About the Author

Sharon Lape is an editorial assistant in the periodicals department at Franciscan Media. She also researches and provides content for the popular Minute Meditations feature. Sharon is a wife and a mother of four children.
  • Mac Duff

    It is interesting how many changed on 9/12. Americians from all walks of life stood hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder and helped each other. No governement intervention was needed. The people KNEW what to do and we showed the world that America is great because America is good. Pray that people never forget what happened or what Americans can do if needed.

  • Kathy Wandstrat

    Great reminder of the good in humanity…so often all we are told about is the inhumanity, death and destruction.  Thanks for the uplifting story on a very sad subject!

  • Jpinotti

    I had no idea….I have seen the pictures and movies of the day in retrospect, and noticed the boats, but only thought they were there as witnesses to watch the horror unfold.  I am amazed with the bravery of people that day.  I wish the feelings we had as a nation on September 11, 2001 and the weeks shortly after, was still as strong.

  • Leah Hartlaub

    What a great reminder to not go through life saying, “I should have done something…”.   The boatlifters’ response to help the stranded victims on Manhattan island is truly inspiring.  I appreciate your sharing the video with us, Sharon.  We must never forget 9/11.  

  • Debbie

    Thanks for sharing!  As Kathy said, it is an uplifting story  on a sad situation reminding us of the good in humanity!  We need that reminder.