Country Living Series

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"The largest sea evacuation in history"

On the morning of 9/11 when the towers came down, millions of people were trapped on Manhattan Island.

Bridges, subways, roads, and tunnels were closed. Hundreds of thousands of people ran south to the water's edge, only to realize that Manhattan is, indeed, an island. The only way off was by boat.

Whatever boats were present immediately began taking on as many people as they could hold. Not how many they were legally allowed; they took as many people as they could possible hold.

It quickly became apparent that more help was needed. The Coast Guard put out the call for "all available boats" to descend on lower Manhattan to help with the evacuation. Within minutes, hundreds of boats of all sizes, shapes, and functions were on the way.

On that horrible day, some incredible things happened.

Among them was the courage and impulse to help that ordinary folks discovered within themselves.

Here's an extraordinary and moving video on what is titled "The great boatlift of 9/11" which became the largest sea evacuation in history.  Ordinary people -- hundreds of unsung heroes -- rescued 500,000 civilians in less than nine hours.

As one of the rescuers put it, "Never go through life saying, 'You should have.'"


  1. That video was wonderful. Am I the only one who didn't know about this? I had NEVER heard of all these wonderful water 911 heros before. Thank you so much for enlighting me. This story I'll be passing on.

  2. May God bless, guide and defend America and her exceptional people.

    A. McSp.

  3. Tears are making it hard to type...

  4. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)September 25, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    True real-life American heroes - they are what makes us so great. We don't need the government to tell us what to do and when to do it. We do what is right. And I pray every day that we will continue to do so.
    Thank you Patrice for posting this video.

  5. THANK YOU!!!

    Wow. What an uplift. Sure the first responders where heros, but they are trained to be.

    These boaters, boatmen, mechanics, captains? Heroes all.

  6. I never saw this before. What a shame that it's not shown to all every year. What wonderful Americans. God bless them forever.
    Makes me sad to realize where the country has gone.
    Thank you Patrice, I'll make sure my children see this many times.


  7. This brought me to tears as well. I can't believe I've never heard about this. It doesn't take a professional to help people in time of need. God's grace is so amazing; I hope many survivors came to the Lord that day. Thanks Patrice.

  8. I agree that this was a wonderful and unreported operation. However while this was the largest maritime evacuation in US history, and the largest in a single day, it was definitely NOT the largest maritime evacuation ever - that honor goes to Operation Hannibal, which was only a portion of the maritime evacuation of several million Germans from the path of advancing Soviet forces in 1945. Operation Hannibal alone evacuated at least 1.3 million Germans through heavy fighting; the sinking of the Gustloff was the deadliest sinking ever, where at least 9,500 drowned.

  9. American's are pretty damn great.

  10. I never knew about this either. Made me cry...


  11. Wow! Thought I was over the emotion of that day. So thankful for everyone banding together and rescuing so many.
    Americans can do anything we set our minds to accomplish. Let's take back America!

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this information, I have never heard this before

  13. Excellent video Patrice. I was totally unaware of this aspect of 9/11. Wow, this has got to represent the very best of the American spirit. I pray to God that we don't allow this spirit to die.

  14. Hope this isn't too long. I tried to edit...

    I knew about this story. I'm surprised that there are so many comments from people who say they never knew this.

    I watched the television for almost a solid week when 9/11 happened. I didn't sleep or eat. The TV was on 24/7 and I was planted in front of it the whole time.

    This story of evacuation became the shining lining of that horrible cloud. I watched many stories on the television about it at the time.

    I'm, frankly, stunned that so many say they never knew about this! Shocked, actually. I'm seeing history being forgotten right before my own eyes.

    Please don't misunderstand me. I don't mean that as an insult to anyone - but as an observation of how much we depend on sometimes improperly disseminated information.

    Thank you so much and bless you for finding and posting this video!

    Just Me

  15. And the unmentioned fact is why this evacuation was needed? Because the government decided to close down all the other exits. They had reasons for doing this but what was their plan to get the people off Manhattan Island? None. "Trust the government, they have a plan", yeah right.

    1. "Sarah", the lady that emailed Patrice should read your comment and discuss it with her non-prepping husband. The government can't save us, nor was that the intent of the founding fathers; the best thing they can do for us is to stay out of our way and our pockets.

      As an Army brat living overseas with my parents, the knowledge that in the event of an emergency (this was before the Berlin wall fell) Mom was in charge of getting us out of harm's way. The car was kept full of gas, documents were kept handy, cash was set aside, food and water was boxed up and rotated frequently, and the maps were in the car. There was NO GOVERNMENT PLAN or even intention of evacuating dependents and we never fooled ourselves about this fact.

      Nothing has changed.


  16. This shows that we America are still that bright light upon the hill. It shows that we a power, when we stand as one , and in the face of tragedy.

    I am thankful for all who answer the call.

  17. Thank you for this video. I never saw it. I just shared it with about 100 others and will email the link to about another 80. It is one of the most moving events I have ever seen. Thank you again.