I didn’t prepare a personal blog post this week and figured I’d just take a pass. But this morning I came across a column by long-time New York resident Peggy Noonan and want to share a portion of it with you. She’s reflecting on 9/11 as a “Day of Grief and Human Glory” and towards the end writes:
…There was Welles Crowther. Remember him? A young guy, 24, just starting out, worked as a junior associate at an investment bank on the 104th floor of the south tower. He always carried in his back pocket a red bandanna, and they teased him. WHAT ARE YOU, A FARMER? He’d laugh and show bravado: WITH THIS BANDANA I’M GONNA CHANGE THE WORLD. And that day as the world exploded he did. He led people to safety, carried them down to lower floors. He kept going back for more. To protect from the smoke he put the bandanna over his face. He never came home from the towers that day or the day after, his parents were anguished, hoping against hope. Then one day, three days in, his mother was at her desk at home in Nyack, N.Y. Suddenly she felt a presence behind her. She didn’t look, didn’t move. She knew it was Welles. She knew he was saying goodbye. She said: “Thank you.” She knew now he was dead. Months of mourning, no word on how he’d died. And one day, Memorial Day weekend 2002, the New York Times had a story about the last minutes in the towers, and they mentioned survivors who spoke of a man in a red bandanna who’d saved them. And Welles’s mother thought she knew who that was. She got a picture of her son to the survivors and they said yes, that was the man who saved me. Some time later they found his remains, near the command post the firemen had set up in the South Tower. When his family opened his apartment they found an unfinished application to become a New York City fireman.
Just a few days before 9/11, on Labor Day weekend, Welles, visiting his parents, was unusually subdued. He told his mother he had a feeling he was going to be part of something big, had a role to play in it or a job to do.
Isn’t it funny how the mind works, how it knows things it does not know?
“Courage comes from love,” was my summation in 2016. “There’s a big unseen current of love that hums through the world and some plug into it more than others, more deeply and surely.” It fills them with courage. It makes everything possible.”
I love this:
“Courage comes from love…There’s a big unseen current of love that hums through the world and some plug into it more than others, more deeply and surely.” It fills them with courage. It makes everything possible.
Photo Credit: New York Times