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The Red Bandana: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy

A powerful and thought-provoking story of what one man did in the last hour of his life.


SUMMARY Welles Crowther always carried a red bandanna in his back pocket, it was his signature. His father had given him a red bandanna when Welles was just a young boy and told him to always keep in handy. When he worked as a researcher on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, Welles would frequently place the red bandanna on the corner of his desk, and occasionally wave it over his head in jubilant acknowledgment of a request for research help. While Welles loved his finance job with Sandler O’Neill, his true passion and dream was of becoming a full-time firefighter with the FDNY. This is his September 11th story. It the story of a man who took charge in the smoke-filled sky elevator lobby on the 78th floor of the South Tower; a man that found the only open stairway and told others to follow him; a man that carried one woman on his back, down sixteen flights of stairs, and then went back up to help others. The survivors that he rescued didn’t know his name, but the one thing they remembered was that he wore a red bandanna around his neck.

REVIEW I visited the September 11th Memorial with a group of friends late September 2017. As we were getting reading to leave, the cover of this beautiful book at a nearby kiosk caught my attention. As an avid reader I couldn’t think of a better remembrance of my visit to to the memorial. I was not familiar with Welles Crowther story, but l felt called to this particular book. Once I returned home to Florida it took a little courage to actually open and read the book, but I’m so glad I finally did. Emotionally it’s a difficult read, and I struggled with some of the writing, but as a story, like the paisley swirls in a red bandanna, it’s beautiful. TOM RINALDI has woven Welles Crowther’s character, courage and choice into a powerful and memorable tribute to a fine young man, and a beacon for us all. Book Published September 6, 2016.

At 9:12 am Welles calls his mom and leaves a message. “Mom…this is Welles. I…. I want you to know that I’m okay.” They were the last words his family would ever hear him speak.
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