Vol. 14


An Untold Story of 9/11

2001; New York, New York, USA

It was a regular day, and a regular man was on his regular route to work, listening to his regular radio channel: 1010 WINS. My grandfather Michael J. Barry was in his car on his way to work when he heard the news of the first plane flying into one of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. On the day of 9/11, he took part in the biggest evacuation by water in the history of the world. More than 500,000 people were carried from Manhattan Island to safety in New Jersey, and my grandfather helped these anxious, stranded people.

My grandfather had been on his way to work on a normal day, expecting nothing but the usual. Suddenly an emergency alert had come on the news saying that a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers. “It’s just a small lost plane,” thought my grandfather. “It probably just went out of control.”

He continued on his way, and about fifteen minutes later there was news of the second tower being hit. “It must be more serious than I thought,” he remembers telling himself.

It was also announced on the radio that the Federal Aviation Administration had shut down all New York City airports. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had also ordered that all tunnels and bridges between the two states be closed to help keep people safe.

My grandfather made a U-turn in the middle of the highway, as he had realized that the only way for people to get from Manhattan to New Jersey was by boat. He drove to where his boat was docked, quickly took it across the Hudson River, and docked at the boating service where he worked: the Circle Line, based in New York City. Once at work, my grandfather got onto another boat and got to work in the engine room, as he did every day.

The Coast Guard got involved, too, sending out a universal message to all boats in the area, telling them to help in any way they could. Flocks of boats answered the call: tour boats, big boats, small boats, even tug boats. Everyone was trying to get people off Manhattan Island. Every boat was filled to maximum capacity. All day long the boats took people across the river to New Jersey. Back and forth, back and forth the boats went.

At the end of the day, my grandfather was proud of the service he had done for his country. He had done everything he could to help, and he knew he may have saved many lives. It had started out as a regular day for my grandfather. But by the end of the day, he had helped thousands of people get to safety.

This story is important to me because it taught me that during emergencies anyone can help. Help was needed in evacuating people from Manhattan Island, and my grandfather responded. Michael J. Barry is a hero.

Kaitlyn Iannace; North Carolina, USA



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