9/11 Boat Evacuation: Greater Than Dunkirk

9/11 Boat Evacuation: Greater Than Dunkirk

Romans 8:28 says “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Twenty years after the 9/11 terror attacks that murdered nearly three thousand people we are beginning to see ‘the good’ that God brought on that day. That someone like Christina Stanton, a regular New Yorker who ran for her life after the second plane came within 500 feet of her apartment balcony… would find a deeper, more real faith in Jesus Christ. That Peter Johansen, the director of Ferry Operations, would become God’s agents in helping to rescue a half million people through a massive boat evacuation and how the two people who were strangers before 9/11, became friends. It was New York’s version of Dunkirk, the mass evacuation of people stranded in what became a war zone on 9-11. The Coast Guard estimates 500 thousand people were taken off the Island in Lower Manhattan. The only way to New Jersey, or Staten Island or the closest ports of land, was by boat. It was the largest marine evacuation in history, surpassing Dunkirk, the rescue of Allied soldiers from the coast of France during World War II.  Sightseeing boats, catamarans, small boats, large boats, private boats. Johansen was the Senior Director of Ferry Operations for New York Waterway, when the attacks happened. The ferry boats normally handle 33,000 people a day. It wasn’t enough on 9/11. The Coast Guard sent out a plea, “All available boats!” And they responded. The tugboats in Staten Island, Fishing boats in Sheepshead Bay, every boat was full, every run. People waited in line three or four hours. Stanton, her husband, and dog were also rescued. As she writes in her story, “We collapsed onto a bench… It felt so good to sit down. A wave of relief washed over me as we chugged away from the shore. After three hours of terror, we were off the island. We were alive.” On this episode of Lighthouse Faith podcast, Stanton and Johansen talk about NYC’s boat evacuation, and their part in the testament to the power of the ‘good’ that is in our hearts. That evil will fail, that good will prevail.

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