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9/11 Memorial Remembers The Man in the Red Bandana

The Man in the Red Bandana’s heroism lives on. At the dedication of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum last week, President Obama recounted the story of Welles Remy Crowther and the numerous others who lost their lives less than 13 years ago.

In front of the thousands in attendance to pay their respects, Obama recounted Crowther’s sacrifice. After planes struck the South Tower, Crowther lead his coworkers on the 78th floor to safety. During those perilous moments, survivor after survivor recounted a steady voice guiding them to the stairwell.

Photo courtesy of Boston College

Photo courtesy of Boston College

Graduating from Boston College in 1999, Crowther was a proud member of the varsity lacrosse team. While playing, Crowther would wear the eponymous red bandana that he was known for under his helmet.

Obama said Crowther’s actions were an example of the "true spirit of 9/11: love, compassion, sacrifice.” Crowther, drawing on his experience a volunteer firefighter, “carried a woman on his shoulders down 17 flights. Then he went back.  Back up all those flights.”

Those that Crowther saved did not know his name. As Obama said, “they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandana.”

Even though the others did not know his name, Crowther “called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames” while simultaneously tending to the wounded. When firefighters met Crowther and others he did not stop helping, going back up to save others. When the second tower collapsed, he was looking to save others.

At the ceremony, Welles Crowther’s mother said that she could not be more proud of her son. During her speech she continued, saying, “It is our greatest hope that when people come here and see Welles' red bandana, they will remember people who helped each other that day.” One of Crowther’s bandanas is on display at the museum and near the Memorial’s South Pool, on Panel S-50, Crowther’s sacrifice is honored.

Welles Crowther was one of many people who lost their lives that day while trying to save the lives of others. The university remembers Welles’s sacrifice as the true fulfillment of Boston College’s ideals, serving others before himself by saving over a dozen lives.

In 2011 Crowther’s story was retold by ESPN in the form of a documentary film, winning an Emmy award and inspiring others outside of the Boston College community to honor the legacy of the Man in the Red Bandana.

At Boston College, Crowther remains a hero. Each year, there is a commemorative race in his honor on campus, which raises money for the Red Bandana Project, a youth leadership organization started by his parents in 2001. Students volunteer and participate in the name of Crowther, a fellow Eagle who gave so much.