Nyackers may notice a trend Tuesday—red bandanas tied around trees throughout the village. And for many, the meaning will be clear and powerful.
Tuesday marks the 11th anniversary of the tragic September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Nyack, Piermont and the surrounding villages were marred deeply by the act—along with the rest of county—but saw acts of valor and selflessness amid the terror.
Upper Nyack's Welles Crowther worked in the World Trade Center in 2001, just a few years out of Boston College and, before that, . When the planes hit, Crowther made multiple trips back into the towers, bringing others to safety—and saving at least one dozen lives.
During it all he donned a red bandana, now an iconic accessory in Nyack and throughout the United States.
Elaine Duddy, a Central Nyack resident who has called the hamlet home for almost a quarter-century, had the idea for "Red Bandanna Day" several months ago. She knows Crowther's saga, and wants to jump-start a tradition honoring him.
"It would represent all the Sept. 11th heroes in a special way," she said. "It's a symbol of heroism and courage."
"I'm just doing this because, at the bottom of my heat, I felt loss [that day]," Duddy continued. She worked at the Nyack School District the day of the attacks. Firefighter Dennis McHugh—who perished that day, and had the named in his honor—worked Duddy's paper route, and was later her son's basketball coach.
Duddy has launched a Facebook campaign to spread the word about "Red Bandanna Day."
"So far I'm getting really good responses," Duddy said. "And it's not just in Rockland—I have relatives in California [who will participate]."
When Alison Crowther, Welles' mother, first heard of Duddy's plan, she was touched.
"That's really amazing," she said. "It's so beautiful how people remember Welles."
Alison Crowther and Welles' father Jeff set up The Crowther Trust charity to honor their son, and several events and fundraisers are approaching.
Sept. 16 will be the , a free concert featuring musicians from the New York Philharmonic, New York Ballet and Metropolitan Opera. Donations are accepted; the event is slated for 5 p.m. at .
On the concert's heels is an Oct. 1 golf outing at Patriot Hills Country Club in Stony Point.
"It was a huge success last year, and we're hoping for it again this year," Allison Crowther said. "Anyone is welcome to come and participate—you don't have to be a golfer."
Tickets are $250 and include a day on the links, breakfast and lunch, and a chance at prizes including a $25,000 hole-in-one award (half goes to the golfer, half to the charity), a trip for two to Scotland and more.
The golf outing begins at 11 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. with a barbecue; residents can attend just the barbecue for $60.
Residents interested in purchasing a red bandana can try AC Moore (165 Rockland Center, Nanuet) or .