Boatlift – An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience

“He who saves just one life, saves the world entire.” (From the Talmud)

Using the documentary as a starting point, please respond to the following prompts:

What makes a hero? Simply put, how would you define the word hero?
Are heroes born or made?
What are some common attributes that you associate with heroes?
Can anyone be a hero?
Please tell about a point in the story that moved you in some way. Be specific.

Do you believe that one person can make an impact on the world?
Do you believe that a single person can change the course of history?

Taking all of these questions into account, please tell us who is a hero to you. (No family member or friend)

Two well-crafted paragraphs

“I am not a hero.”
Miep Gies died in 2010 at the age of 100. She and her husband hid Anne Frank and her family in the secret annex in Amsterdam to avoid German persecution during the Holocaust. This is an excerpt from an interview Miep Gies did.

TERI SCHULTZ: Miep Gies said she did not like being called a hero. Yet, she risked her life many times over to help the Frank family during the two years they hid from the Nazis in a secret annex built into the Trading Company office in Amsterdam where she’d worked for Otto Frank almost a decade.

Providing refuge to Jews, she noted later, carried a punishment of at least six months in a concentration camp. Still, the Austrian-born Dutch woman, knighted by the governments of Germany and the Netherlands, recipient of a medal from Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, always insisted she had done nothing extraordinary.

Ms. MIEP GIES: I, myself, I’m just a very common person. I simply had no choice. I could foresee many, many sleepless nights and a life filled with regret if I would have refused to help the Franks. And this was not the kind of life I was looking for at all.

SCHULTZ: Gies explained another motivation for emphasizing her modesty. She said if people are allowed to think it takes remarkable qualities to act boldly on behalf of others, few will attempt it.

Ms. GIES: People should never think that you have to be a very special person to help those who need you.


  1. What makes a hero in my definition, is if you risk your life for others. What I mean by that is if you know something bad is to happen, you try your hardest to help, even if it means death. I don’t believe heroes are born or made, any one can be a hero if they devoted to helping others. An attribute all heroes must have is will and bravery. Heroes depend on those personalities because heroes need those personalities to be heroes. Anyone could be a hero, but not everyone will want to be one. Anyone can be a hero if they put time and effort into helping someone or something, but there are also some people who don’t want to devote time into helping others. One part in the story that moved me was when boat owners said “if you try something and fail, at least you tried your hardest and if you try something and succeed, well then better for you.” That moved me because it’s true, you don’t have to succeed at something if you knew you tried your best. Someone can make a impact to the world, but you can’t just make a impact to the world even if it was recognized by anyone enough still impacted the world in a way that could of been important. A single person can change the course of history because if no one could change the course of history, then there would be no history to talk about than your own.
    Example of a hero is Irena Sendler. She was a savior of many Jewish kids during the holocaust. She tried to save many Jews from the ghetto and succeeded. She saved a lot kids in ghetto and eventually got caught, but escaped. She helped the kids get to new family’s and gave every kid a new name. Irena Sendler kept all the names of the kids in a jar so that after the Holocaust she could reconnect the kids with their families. Doing this she reconnected over 2,000 Jews back to their families. This is an example of a hero.

  2. I think what makes a hero is what they try to do to help others in bad times. I associate heroes with bravery, because I think with makes a hero is not what they do, but if they try. Heroes are made, because it matters what they are made into. Anyone can be a hero if that’s what they want to be. The part that moved me was when the man went to save people even though his wife told him not to. I believe anyone can have an impact on the world and can change the course of history.
    I believe that Martin Luther King Jr. is a hero because Martin Luther King Jr. fought for rights. Martin Luther King only fought with his voice. Martin Luther King Jr. is brave, because even though people bombed his house, he still kept fighting.

  3. Hero’s come in all shapes and sizes but everyone is a hero, the courage and the strength that travel through us is stronger than you think. A hero is a person who believes that they could do something not just for themselves but each other. I believe that hero’s are not born into who they are but they are made into who they are, they know what the truth of the matter is and takes that to guide them. I think a hero should have not just the adventure on the way but the gut feeling inside them. Most importantly a hero’s has to think that they can change the world, that in some way that they can help. I truly believe that anyone can be a hero because no matter who you are we all have that spark, that one feeling that you just have to wait for. When the time is ready you will know when you have to do what you have to do.

    The story of 9/11 was a very emotional time. When I saw the video there was sometimes I wanted to cry of sadness but other times I wanted to cry of happiness. The one part of the video that really touched my heart was when you could see hundreds of boats coming in. That one call made a difference, the one call saved thousands of lives. Another part was when one of the guys who saw what was going on told his wife that he was leaving to help those people in need. He took his boat and started to gather as many people that he could find. If one person can come and help and try then you are already changing history because you are fight for something or someone that you love, all it takes is to help to try your hardest.

    To me a person who is a hero for me is Martha Luther King Jr. He fought about right for all people and not to Judge people about there skin, that they are all people too. Finally after all of his hard work and effort people that had darker skin were set free and were treated how everyone else was treated. In the end people didn’t like what he did and one person took there anger to far, they shot and killed him for what he did. Today he is still a hero that will go down in history.

  4. Heroes are not born they are made by doing what is right and not being mean to anyone. The thing that makes a hero a hero is doing what’s right. What I think when I first hear hero is like the Avengers and Bilbo Baggins, but that’s not what a real hero is, that’s someone who helps people even if it’ll kill them, but the people come home knowing they were saved by someone. I believe one person can make an impact in the world because what one person does that is the right thing to do and speaks about it, that persuades others to do what he or she did. One point that moved me a lot in the video was when all the boats came to save the people of The city to safety in 9 hours.

  5. I think courage and selflessness is what makes a hero. Just like in the video, the one man had to do something to help the people on 9/11. He didn’t care what happened to himself he only cared about the helpless people who would have died. Heroes are made not born. I think this because when you are born, you don’t go saving the world. A hero is made when something tragic happens and opens up a part of someone and they do everything that they can to help the ones in need, no matter what happens to the hero. A point in the story that moved me in a way is when the captain of the ferry made a distress call for boats to come to Manhattan and get people off the island and get them to safety. After the call, boats started to come from around and they saved a ton of people. This moved me because so many people were able to help and opened the hero in themselves along with many other people that saved people on 9/11.

    I do believe that one person can change the world and change the course of history. I believe that even if you do a small thing at the time, it can become something huge and help a lot of people (or hurt people depending on what you did). Someone who is a hero to me is Lilly Singh (iiSuperwomanii). She is a YouTuber but she has helped a lot of people. She had depression for many years and then she started YouTube. It made her happy to make videos and it made other people happy. Other kids that had depression were happy by watching her videos and she does much more than that. She has an organization called #GirlLove. It is an organization to end girl on girl hate. She also went to Africa and she raised money for women to get an education. I think that she is am amazing hero to many people. She has impacted a lot in the world by helping those in need.

  6. What makes a hero to me is a person that at least tried to help or fix something that is very important, when they didn’t need to. Or putting others before them self.
    Heroes are made by being strong and if they think they can do something that will make a difference, they will go for it, even if it doesn’t work. They put their mind to it, which is very important.
    Yes, anyone can be a hero, by making a difference and helping others. Not being able to fly are have super powers. But to make things better in a sintuation that really matters.
    I had a very strong emotion in the story, when i herd that people were pushing and shoving their ways onto the fairy boat, that showed me that those people were so terrified that they didnt care about their actions, they just badly wanted to get off the island. I do believe that someone can make an impact on the world, by just believing that u can, and if u put your mind to it, u can really think of something creative to help. I dont think that anyone can change history, because history is history, it already happend. But i do think that someone can change the future.
    Someone that is a hero to me is Walt Disney, because he made a lot of kids happy by marketing movies in color and animation. He is a funny, nice, and amazing!

  7. What makes a hero is bravery. Every hero is brave. The reason why he is brave because when everyone is fleeing he was coming to help. He was not the only one to bring a boat and help. In the video it said it was the most boats coming to rescue in one event. Some people were even swimming off the island. Many heroes were born on 9/11. There are stories of dogs helping there owners to get out of the building.
    I think anyone can be a hero because all it takes is bravery and being a better person in the world. Just like the people who rescued people on 9/11. I don’t think a singe person can change history but they can change the future. There was on video where a man gives a lady his umbrella. Then the lady gave up her seat on a bus to a elderly. Then the elderly fed birds and someone saw this and it kept going and going.
    My hero is Rew Lewis because he was a kind person and played on my favorite football team. The Ravens. Overall he was an amazing guy.

  8. Heroes have different meanings to people. For me, what makes a hero is having the courage to do something right that benefits others. Heroes are brave and I think a hero is always kind. Heroes are born, they are just like you and me. Heroes are always regular they have just taken the extra step. I think they are helpful and willing to do an amazing deed even when they don’t ask for it. I think anyone can be a hero but are you really are going to do the job. A part that moved me was when all the boats were lined up to collect the people and get them out of the danger. They were just regular people willing to be heroes and help those people in need.
    I think all it takes is one person and they can “save the day.” Sometimes that one person can lead to a whole bunch of people and becomes a chain reaction. I do because Martin Luther King Jr. had marched and even though a lot of people had followed them he was the one who started the chain reaction that chained history. I think my Dr. Martin King Luther Jr. is someone who I think is a hero. He has changed history and has made it possible for people to have fair rights. He fought for what he believed in. I think that is a true Hero.

  9. What makes a hero in my mind is one person. A person that would help others instead of themselves and have more courage and strength than all of us. A person that would stand out of the crowd.
    Hero’s are made. We all come into this world as somebody but it is our choice to choose our life. We choose to make our choice of being a hero, being that person. It takes guts to be a someone that ready for the path ahead and to chose that path to give up there life for other people.
    I do believe the one person can make a mark on the world. Many people have already have like Malala Yousafazi who risked her life for what she believed in and when she survived a bullet and spoke even to the United Nations she did make a impact I believe.
    Many people have already made impacts in history. Like…. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and etc. These people went above and beyond for what they believe and sadly some of them had bad endings, but to this day we honor those people and what they did for our country.
    My hero is Captain “Sully” Sullenberger. He is my hero because he made a choice between returning to a airport that would probably end up killing the lives of 155 souls on board or landing in the Hudson River. He choose the Hudson because he knew that it was the only chance he had to save the lives of all of these people and it ended up him saving the lives of everyone

  10. To me, the word hero means someone who goes out of their way to help people.
    Someone who would risk their life just for someone else’s.
    Heroes are both born and made. Sometimes heroes can just start from birth and sometimes a life changing event can make someone a hero.
    Attributes I associate with a hero are: Wisdom, power, powerful speech, and kindness.
    Yes anyone can be a hero. Everyone on this earth has the power to stand up and stop darkness from spreading. It just depends on the type of person you are.
    The story of boatlift moved me when thousands of boats rushed out to help the people stuck in the smoke engulfed city, all through the kindness and thought of the boat drivers and sailors.

    I do believe that one person can make an impact on the entire world, however big or small the impact might be.
    I also believe a single person can change the course of history, inventing a clever invention creating the cure of a very strong disease. Infact, one accident or mistake can lead to a big discovery.

    So what are you waiting for? Be a hero!

  11. Hero’s are not born they are made. They are changed in someway shape or form that makes them a hero. Wether someone changed them or if they changed themselves, for the better. Hero’s have to have certain traits, the have to be kind, caring, and they have to do things for others before they do things for themselves. Hero’s also have to be willing to do many kind and courageous things, they cant just be heroic for praise or for rewards, which means that not everyone can be a hero. It takes guts and you would have to be doing it for the right reasons and for the right cause. One part in the video that really moved me was when the man told his wife that he just had to go and get his boat to save the people he had to, it was almost as if it were his responsibility. One person can definitely change the world because maybe this persons actions changed millions of peoples’ actions. One person could definitely change history, in fact many people have. If one person does something and people agree with what they did more and more people will follow, wether that be for worse or for better. If it weren’t for certain hero’s like Dr. Martin Luther King we would not be where we were today. We wouldn’t have as much freedom and respect as we do right now. We also wouldn’t be where we are right not if people didn’t change and follow Dr. Martina Luther King. Many people wold be treated differently from others for the worst reasons. This video was a great video and it showed my what hero’s are really like and why they are they people they are.

  12. I define the word hero as someone who helps others and put other people before them. People like this are extremely brave because they do what they believe is right and don’t listen to the haters.
    I believe that heroes are made by seeing something that is wrong and making it better.
    No baby starts out as a hero. For me it’s all the little things you do that make you a hero. Helping someone cross the street, pick up trash, or babysitting your sister. These little things can add up to overall make you a better person and in your own right a hero. You don’t have to slay dragons and rescue maidens. This is why I believe anyone can be a hero.
    A part of the video that moved me was when all the boats came. The captains helped civilians even though they could have died. These are true heroes. They put themselves before others. A specific part that moved me was when one guy told his wife that he needed to help, knowing he might never come back home. I believe that one person can make a impact on the world. A example of this is Martian Luther King Jr. He started out with a normal life, but when he saw discrimination he fought to make things fair. Because of his heroism, public places were now interracial and history was changed forever. He changed the world and history.

    A hero to me Captain Sully. He was flying a plane over the Hudson when birds flew into the engines. He landed his plane into the Hudson and made sure everyone was off the plane before him. Captain Sully saved 155 people lives and in the end, he only wanted them safe. He is a true hero.

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