One of the great but unrecognized stories of 9/11 is the impromptu response by mariners that resulted in the biggest evacuation by water in history. A new book American Dunkirk: The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11 examines what lessons can be learned from this mobilization of boats and ships that rescued countless people following the attacks.
Co-authors Tricia Wachtendorf and James Kendra will present their research at the museum ship Lilac at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25 tonight September 8 at 6PM.
Their presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring others who have documented the rescue including Jessica DuLong, chief engineer of fireboat John J. Harvey and the author of the forthcoming book Calling All Boats: Untold Stories from the Maritime Evacuation of September 11th, and Eddie Rosenstein, executive producer/director at Eyepop Productions, producer of the film Boatlift.
Captain Patrick Harris, owner and operator of the sailing yacht Ventura, a mariner who participated in the evacuation, will moderate the discussion.
After the formal program, the authors will sign books, which will be available for purchase, and panelists will be available for informal conversation.
Boatlift will be screened during this time and audio recordings of mariners’ reminiscences, courtesy of PortSide NewYork, will be available for listening.
The oral histories are drawn from the larger exhibition, Mariners’ Response
to 9/11, curated for Lilac in 2011 by PortSide NewYork
Admission to this event is free but reservations are recommended since space is limited. A reservations link and more information can be found at www.lilacpreservationproject.org.
Boatlift will continue to be available for viewing this month and visitors may also listen to the recorded oral histories during
The retired Coast Guard Cutter Lilac is the last surviving steam-powered lighthouse tender in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Launched on May 26, 1933, she carried supplies to lighthouses and maintained buoys for the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard until she was decommissioned in 1972. Lilac is currently being restored as a unique vehicle for maritime education and community activities and is berthed at Hudson River Park’s Pier 25, N. Moore and West Streets, in New York City.