The inspirational story of a modern-day hero who escorted dozens to safety during the 9/11 attacks.
Longtime ESPN correspondent Rinaldi reconstructs the life of Welles Crowther, a fearless man responsible for saving the lives of dozens on 9/11. Already determined and passionate as a youth, Crowther grew up in a family of faith in Nyack, New York, raised by loving parents whose first date ironically occurred on Sept. 11, 1968. A competitive boy, he excelled in sports and joined his father in volunteering at the local firehouse. A lasting boyhood keepsake was a red bandanna given to him by his father; this “unexpected gift” became a prized possession and a “superhero” lucky charm to Crowther. He attended Boston College, excelled at lacrosse, and, after graduating, realized his dream of living in New York City and began working as an equities trader on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center’s South Tower, though he had future aspirations to formally become a firefighter. In the frantic minutes following the first plane’s impact on 9/11, Crowther took to the stairwells searching for survivors and encountered a crowd of injured people whom he managed to rescue, even carrying one on his back as he descended a stairway. Rinaldi incorporates many survivor accounts of those who later told the media of a mysterious man with his face covered with a red handkerchief who saved them only to ascend back into the building looking for others. Crowther perished as the tower collapsed after aiding the fire department as a civilian usher, yet his heroic legacy, lauded by President Barack Obama, is eternally memorialized at the 9/11 tribute site. With dramatic, only occasionally maudlin prose, Rinaldi captures the compelling urgency of the indelible event and fondly tips his hat to Crowther, an exemplary embodiment of human compassion and selflessness.
A moving, deeply felt tribute to a courageous individual who sacrificed his life to save others.