There was no shortage of heroes on that day sixteen years ago when the U.S. came under attack. Here are a few of their stories:
Operation Yellow Ribbon is the story of a little village in Newfoundland whose residents welcomed and cared for thousands of stranded airline passengers after U.S. airspace was closed on 9/11.
Boatlift is the story of the largest maritime evacuation in history, which took place in Manhattan on 9/11. Half a million people were evacuated in nine hours after the Coast Guard put out a call for help and hundreds of locals responded.
The Man in the Red Bandana is the story of Welles Crowther, a young equities trader in New York City who lost his life on 9/11 while saving the lives of strangers.
The Search and Rescue Dogs of 9/11 is about some of the dogs who searched for survivors amid the wreckage of the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
How a chicken farmer, a pair of princesses, and 27 imaginary spies helped the Allies win World War II
Only one man in history was both awarded the Iron Cross for his service to Nazi Germany AND also made a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by King George VI. That man was Juan Pujol Garcia, a draft-dodging chicken farmer and failed businessman from Barcelona who decided during World War II to become a double agent in order to help the Allies defeat Hitler. Here is his amazing story, as recounted by Lucas Reilly in Mental Floss:
In the weeks leading up to D-day, Allied commanders had their best game faces on. “This operation is not being planned with any alternatives,” barked General Dwight D. Eisenhower. “This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be!” Indeed, more than 6,000 ships were ready to cruise across the English Channel to plant the first wave of two million troops on the white beaches of Normandy. Nearly 20,000 vehicles would crawl ashore as 13,000 planes dropped thousands of tons of explosives and thousands of paratroopers.
The sheer size of the invasion—it would be the largest in history—was staggering. But so were the stakes. With the first day’s casualty rate expected to reach 90 percent and the outcome of World War II hanging in the balance, the truth was that Eisenhower was riddled with doubt. He’d transformed into an anxious chimney, puffing four packs of cigarettes a day. Other Allied leaders felt equally unsure. “I see the tides running red with their blood,” Winston Churchill lamented. General George S. Patton privately complained of feeling “awfully restless.” Chief of the Imperial General Staff Alan Brooke was more blunt: “It won’t work,” he said. The day before the invasion, Eisenhower quietly penciled a note accepting blame in case he had to order retreat. When he watched the last of the 101st Airborne Division take off, the steely general started to cry.
They were worried for good reason. With so many troops and so much artillery swelling in England, it was impossible to keep the attack a secret. Hitler knew it was coming, and he’d been preparing a defense for months. Only one detail eluded him, and he was confident in a Nazi victory if he could figure it out—he needed to know where, exactly, the attack would happen. To make D-day a success, the Allies needed to keep him in the dark: They’d have to trick the Germans into thinking the real invasion was just a bluff, while making it seem like a major attack was imminent elsewhere. The task seemed impossible, but luckily, the British had a secret weapon: a short, young balding Spaniard. He was the king of con men, an amateur spy gone pro, the world’s sneakiest liar. He was also, of all things, a chicken farmer.
[story continues here]
Most cops have heard just about every excuse imaginable for why someone was driving too fast, but I think this might have been a first — the driver didn’t know how to tie his necktie and needed to find someone to help him. Watch this cop go above and beyond the call of duty.
(This happened in the town where I have lived for the past 39 years. Our cops are the best.)
From ABC13 News.
Adrian Alcorn is shy, but admits, “I’ve been asking God for a blessing.”
He received it at 4am on Thursday, outside the gate where he checks Valero workers in to the Texas City refinery. Alcorn works for the Port of Texas City.
Early this year, some of the workers noticed the bike next to the guard building. He told those who asked about it that he rode it to and from work.
It wasn’t for exercise. Alcorn’s car quit running, and he didn’t have the funds to repair it, so he found a used bike and duct taped a flashlight to the raised handlebars so he could navigate highway 146 in the dark, as tankers and 18 wheelers passed him.
“I got scared a lot, and just prayed God would get me there safe,” he said.
Not once did he arrive late at his post, despite freezing rain or sweltering heat, and so the plan to help Alcorn began.
Within a couple of weeks, employees at the refinery’s coke unit raised $3,000.
“Everybody was jumping in saying ‘I’ll donate.” No set number, whatever you can give,” said unit superintendent Jason Danford.
A Texas City Toyota dealership didn’t have a vehicle to fit the budget at first, but a trade-in suddenly appeared at just the right price: a Toyota Rav 4 with some miles on it, but otherwise in perfect running condition.
On Thursday morning, Alcorn was on duty when a group of workers approached him, handed him the keys, and wished him ‘Merry Christmas.’
[read the full story here]