WAXAHACHIE — Rebehak Corder is a senior docent at the George W. Bush Presidential Library which has an extensive 9/11 display. Her sister, Anna Corder, is an exceptional presenter and together they work to remind us that the everyday heroism shown during 9/11 is still inspiring today.
They began with the story of two flight attendants who knew they had been hijacked and called in the seat numbers of the hijackers enabling the authorities to identify them.
Next, was the story of George Howard, a Port Authority police officer who came in on his day off and died while saving others.
Finally, the story of Rick Rescorla, who was head of security for Dean Witter, had trained all of their employees to evacuate. He was last seen doing a final sweep to ensure that everyone was out.
Only seven of the 6,287 Dean Witter employees were lost.
Then they moved on to their heart of the story — the Great Boat Lift.
When people began to evacuate the twin towers many ran south, right to the water’s edge where they were trapped. As the buildings fell much of the dust and debris followed and engulfed them. They were helpless and many even jumped into the water.
Seeing their desperation, the Coast Guard called “all available boats” to come to the south end of Manhatten Island to rescue people.
Hundreds of boats of all types and sizes responded. One man commented he had never seen so many tugboats. Everyone helped everyone. People did what they had to do to help — they just stepped up.
The result was the largest sea evacuation in U.S. history, hence the Great Boat Lift.
About 500,000 were evacuated in nine hours.
As a contrast, during the Battle of Dunkirk in World War II around 330,000 soldiers were evacuated in nine days.
Corder identified several lessons from the event:
Human barriers between people dissolve when help is required.
Much more can be accomplished when we are united.
Seeing how people helped each other recognize the value of one selfless act.
You can see the dramatic video of the event by going to YouTube and searching for “Great Boat Lift." Many in the meeting room had wet eyes. Of particular pride to Texans is that many of the pictures were repeated in the recent hurricane in the Houston area.
To reach Rebekad Corder, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Anna Corder, email email@example.com. They have a lot of information to share.