9/11 Museum Opening Honors Man in Red Bandana

President Obama helps dedicate museum

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted May 15, 2014 11:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama today helped dedicate the National September 11 Memorial Museum, and his comments opened with the recollection of a man who "emerged from the smoke, and over his nose and his mouth, he wore a red handkerchief." It was Welles Crowther, a 24-year-old working on the South Tower's 104th floor who, as Obama explained, had carried a red handkerchief with him since he was a child. And on 9/11, the "man in the red bandana" was a hero:

  • "He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames. He attended to the wounded. He led those survivors down the stairs to safety, and carried a woman on his shoulders down 17 flights. Then, he went back, back up all those flights, then back down again, bringing more wounded to safety, until that moment when the tower fell. ... And today, as we saw on our tour, one of his red handkerchiefs is on display in this museum. And from this day forward, all those who come here will have a chance to know the sacrifice of a young man who, like so many, gave his life so others might live."
In advance of his comments, Obama, the first lady, and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg toured the museum, whose seven stories hold artifacts from the attack, including what CNN calls the "ordinary": leather gloves (used during the recovery effort), a red wallet (owned by a Cantor Fitzgerald employee), a $2 bill (from the wallet of a victim who gave his wife one, too, as a reminder of their second chance at love). USA Today reports that 9/11 survivors, the victims' families, and first responders can visit for free between now and when it opens to the public (admission: $24) on Wednesday.

A pair of World Trade Center tridents, that once formed part of the exterior structural support of the east facade of the building, are displayed at the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum.
A pair of World Trade Center tridents, that once formed part of the exterior structural support of the east facade of the building, are displayed at the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum.   (AP Photo)
A steel beam from the World Trade Center stands at the center of Foundation Hall where the dedication ceremony will take place at the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
A steel beam from the World Trade Center stands at the center of Foundation Hall where the dedication ceremony will take place at the National September 11 Memorial Museum.   (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John Munson, Pool)
A quote from Virgil fills a wall of the museum prior to the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in New York.
A quote from Virgil fills a wall of the museum prior to the dedication ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial Museum on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in New York.   (AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John Munson, Pool)
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