The accounts of 9/11/2001 are filled with stories of people who gave their own lives in order to save the lives of others. One story that stands out for me is that of the “man in the red bandana.”
That man was Welles Crowther, a 24-year-old man who worked at the World Trade Center as an equities trader. But that job didn’t define who he was. At the age of 16, Welles became a volunteer firefighter. Welles was a person who always carried spare change in his pocket to give to the homeless he would encounter on the streets of New York. He was a man who was planning to serve as a Big Brother to a young person who needed someone to look up to. This was clearly a man who loved other people.
On 9/11, Welles took that love for others to a whole new level. After terrorists flew two planes into the Twin Towers, Welles sprang into action. Wearing over his mouth and nose a red bandana that he had carried in his pocket since he was a child, Welles went through the building that he worked in, leading other people to safety. One woman recalled him carrying someone over his shoulder as he led a group of people to a stairwell. Welles handed the woman a fire extinguisher and instructed the group to stay together as they made their way down the stairs to safety. Welles then went back up the stairs so that he could continue helping others. Ultimately, Welles Crowther gave his own life that day as he perished in the collapsed building after saving the lives of others.
Jesus has commanded that we love one another. It is by our love for each other that people can see we are His disciples (John 13:35). God’s Word also tells us that love is defined for us by Jesus’ sacrifice in giving His life in order to save ours. Because He gave His life for us, we should be willing to give our lives for others (1 John 3:16). Now, this doesn’t mean that we must all be like Welles Crowther or the many other men and women who gave their lives saving others on 9/11. We should be willing to do that, but giving our lives for others also means reaching out to help a person in need, giving of our time and resources to help them. It means putting the needs of others ahead of our own needs. When we give of ourselves, of our time and our finances, sacrificially in order to help others, we are giving our lives for them, just as Jesus gave His life for us.