by Dave Warner
Students at the Little Falls Middle School used the ‘Walk to School’ day as an opportunity to honor Welles Crowther, or the Man in the Red Bandana as he is called.
Seventh Grade Social Studies teacher Adam Jodway organized the event and said, “This is an international event, which is usually the first Monday in October, but this year we pushed it to Friday because of the half-day. We’ve done this in Little Falls at least for the last 25 years and Mrs. Lee is the one who started it and passed the torch to me.”
He said that this year because it’s the 20th anniversary of 9/11 that they were doing it in honor of Welles Crowther. “Basically, he was a guy that worked in the twin towers, was a volunteer firefighter, and he personally saved like twelve people and then went back up to get more people out and he was unfortunately in the tower when it fell,” Jodway stated.
Teresa Dodge Lee stated, “I started it because I saw it online and there were schools all over the country doing this, and I thought we could too. It was a way to get together as a group and we could learn about neighborhoods, talk about what it’s like to be part of a community, and we’re physically active at the same time.”
Lee said that every year she did the event, the kids were great. “You give them a perimeter and they stay in it. You don’t go on someone’s lawn – you value someone’s property. You don’t go across the line. They’ve always been great. I was thrilled when Adam texted me and invited me to today’s event.”
Scott Kinville with the Little Falls Fire Department was invited to say a few words and he said, “American history is full of many great events, and tragic ones as well. Such American tragedies include Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, and more recently the terrorist attacks on our country on September 11th, 2001.”
“Many of you weren’t alive for any of these terrible events, but they impact us all the same. The 9/11 attacks especially impacted because it was only twenty years ago that it happened. The effect it has had on everyday Americans’ lives is still felt to this day. Just about everyone knows someone who was there in New York City, Washington DC, or Shanksville Pennsylvania, or who lost a loved one that day, or helped with the cleanup and recovery efforts in New York City or Washington DC,” he said.
Kinville stated, “One of those people who lost their lives that day was a man you have already watched a video about in school – Welles Crowther, the man in the red bandana. Welles was just going about his business on that fateful day in New York City, but his selfless acts of heroism saved twelve lives before making the ultimate sacrifice himself.”
“We don’t expect you to think about Welles Crowther or even 9/11 all day today. All we ask is that while you walk back to school, please take a moment to reflect on the acts of bravery of Welles Crowther and others that day in the face of grave danger,” he said.
Jodway said that the children had also raised money in support of the event, which will be donated to a charitable cause.