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“The Red Bandanna” by Tom Rinaldi

4.0 out of 4.0 stars.

A true legacy story that should be retold every 9/11.

Welles Crowther was 24 years old when he decided other lives come before his own. The date was 9/11/2001 and he had the opportunity to run out of his office building in the World Trade Center South Tower and never look back. Instead he went the opposite direction into the flames. He wanted to help save other people that were immobile due to injury. The intuition and need to assist is almost shocking in our day and age. Some people don’t ever come to that realization even in their 100 + year life span and Welles was not even a quarter of a decade. It was a truly remarkable thing to read about and know that there are people out there in the universe.

The reason for the title of this book is that Crowther was given a red bandanna when he was a little boy from his father, Jeff. He treasured it and took it with him with him everywhere. It was his signature. Along with that on his chart,  he was also a division one athlete, an honor roll student, and an all around stand up guy. Everyone who knew him would say he was scrappy and willing to put in the work to get the job done. It was of no surprise when he wanted to go to one of the most difficult places to live, the big apple, and pursue a challenging job on Wall Street.

He was just getting into the groove of the long hours when a light switched on that this career wasn’t for him. He wanted something more fulfilling. He wanted to be a member of the FDNY. Even though he never saw the acceptance  letter that he had gotten in, Crowther’s name will live on that he was a firefighter through and through. He was even found under the concrete rubble three weeks after the attack with the other helpers, the FDNY heroes.

The book had me crying for obvious reasons but also smiling with Welles and his good sense of perspective. The accounts of some of the people he saved were very impactful. They remember his bandanna (of course) but more importantly his calm strong voice directing the crowd of how to proceed through the chaos.

This may seem like a unique book to read around the holidays because it seems gloomy but really it is inspiring. The Crowther family lost a loved one but they gained a legend that will never disappear. Welles Crowther’s story is one for the ages and will truly never get old.

I loved this book! Highly recommend.


2 thoughts on ““The Red Bandanna” by Tom Rinaldi

  1. Danielle M. says:


    I just came across your instagram page and knew I had to follow you and check out the site.

    This review above has sold me on this book and your blog.


    • Esme Flynn says:

      Thanks Danielle! I love to read and it is nice to hear you do as well. Yes, this book is truly a winner. I hope you like it!


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