On this 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, I want to point again to a short documentary film video titled “Boatlift,” which recounts the evacuation by boat of more than 500,000 people in nine hours from lower Manhattan on that fateful day.
Remarkably, the number of people evacuated by boat that day eclipses the famous retreat from Dunkirk during World War II. Eddie Rosenstein produced the film and Tom Hanks narrated it. It premiered at the Center for National Policy’s 9/11 Ten Year Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C.
Click play to watch “Boatlift: An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience.”
The heroes in this video are the regular guys who work at the harbor every day — the captains and crews of the ferries, tugs and pleasure boats who stepped up big amid the uncertainty and chaos of that day to help their brethren.
The film opens with Vincent Ardolino, captain of the 92-foot excursion boat Amberjack V, which steamed into the fray and ferried scores of terrified people to safety. Ardolino, I think, speaks for all of us when he says, “I have one theory in life. I never want to say the word, ‘I should have.’ If I do it and I fail, I tried. If I do it and I succeed, better for me. I tell my children the same thing. Never go through life saying, ‘I should have.’ ”
Ardolino and many others who put themselves in harm’s way 11 years ago don’t have that doubt and, for the courage and selflessness they showed, they deserve our heartfelt thanks.
— William Sisson