The Boatlift - A Story of American Individualism and Excellence on 9-11

There are many great stories that have been told about the events of 9-11. All of us know exactly where we were that day and remember what we felt. We saw hundreds of thousands of lives changed in an instant. Recently, I came across a new story which I had not heard about 9-11 and would like to share this with you. Not so much because of the story itself - but because of what it illustrates so clearly. That being the exceptional-ism of the American individual.

We have all seen the stories of the police, fire and medical professionals who rushed into harms way that morning. But, until now, I had never heard about this story of the greatest maritime evacuation that has ever taken place in the history of mankind. This evacuation was greater than the famous British evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II in which 338,226 British and French soldiers were rescued from the beaches of France. The Dunkirk Miracle took nine days to complete.

On 9-11, boaters in the area of New York City came to the rescue of nearly a half-million civilians. They were not a military auxiliary. They were not conscripted to do so. They were Americans who saw their fellow Americans in trouble and chose not to wait for the government to do something for them. They acted on their own. These American heroes conducted this impromptu operation not in nine days, but in nine hours.

Actor Tom Hanks narrates this short but moving documentary film, "Boatlift". Watch this video and see for yourself how great the American spirit is.

This story is not unique in American history. During Hurricane Katrina, individuals rushed to the aid of those stranded in New Orleans. In the great "World Series" earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area, people risked their lives to rescue others who were trapped on falling bridges and collapsing freeways. We see it every time there is a natural disaster in this country. The American Individual does not wait for the government to step in and solve their problem. The American individual does what they have to do.

Vincent Ardolino, Captain of the "Amberjack V" which participated in the boatlift said, "I have one theory in life. I never want to say - I should have." "If I do it and I fail, I tried.  If I do it and I succeed, better for me. If you wanna do something, you do it. And this is what I tell my children," Ardolino continued.

And "do it" he did.  Thanks to the thousands of boaters, professionals and individuals, who didnt wait for the government to step in. Thank you for being the American we all believe in - the American Individual. You, and others like you, are what make this country what it is.  A government "Of the People"!

In regards to the boatlift events of that day, the greatest thing the government did for the people was not to get in the way. And for that, we all can be grateful.


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