When the towers were attacked 14 years ago today, Jason was in New York city, minding his own business and going about his daily routine — pretty much the story of all the people of New York.
Right after the attacks, Jason, a former Marine, father of five, and a law student, took off TOWARDS the chaos. After driving his vehicle as far as he could, he parked and started running on foot in the direction of the towers. He was caught on video by several cameras on city streets, a blur of fatigues running through the streets while hundreds of terrified New Yorkers were running in the opposite direction.
Approaching Ground Zero, Jason later said he was determined to save lives. “It was my duty to do something,” he explains. “I felt compelled to assist in any way that I could.”
While Jason was running full speed towards the chaos, Tower One collapsed burying hundreds of the building’s occupants in a burning concrete and steel hell. Even though rescue efforts were called off by city officials due to the instability of the ruins, Jason and another Marine who had responded to the emergency began searching the rubble looking for survivors.
They literally dove into small holes in the rubble and crawled inch by inch, announcing the presence of the “United States Marines” and calling out to anyone who might still be alive. Encompassed by jagged metal, fires, pitch dark, and the smell of burning bodies, the Marines kept looking, certain that someone there was alive and needed help. And they were right.
Buried about 30 feel below ground level, and stuck in a smoldering hell hole, two Port Authority officers were crushed by concrete, suffering burns, and barely able to breathe. Each one had made their peace with God, expecting to die at any moment. What happened next is astonishing.
Jason, who had crawled into a small hole in the wreckage, barely big enough for the Marine to inch his way through, heard a voice answering his call. He was unable to even see the buried officer who was completely covered with concrete, concrete dust, and black soot. Jason didn’t stop to ask the officer what race he was or what the color of his skin was. He didn’t curse the police, he simply kept digging. He said his parents had raised him to believe that he was his brother’s keeper and a Marine never leaves anyone behind.
Jason and his fellow Marine finally located the two officers and beckoned help at the scene. Jason stayed there for hours as each officer was extricated from their hellish grave, and even continued to look for others after the two officers were taken to the hospital.
When Jason Thomas returned home the next day he never spoke of his experience and didn’t even tell his wife what he’d done. Jason returned to his life, keeping his secret, until almost five years later, when Oliver Stone produced a movie about 9/11 and the rescue of the two Port Authority officers.
After telling his wife simply, “I did that,” referring to the rescue efforts, Jason Thomas’ story became both public and legend. A documentary has been showing around the country this week, which includes an interview with Thomas and one of the police officers saved by Thomas and his fellow Marine.
In the days to come, when you think about the decline of our country, the erosion of our code of ethics and morals, and the chaos caused by spoiled rotten anarchists, I want you to remember Jason Thomas. Thomas represents the true America. He represents selfless service, order, decency, honor, and a love of his fellow man.
The thugs grabbing media attention every day by destruction of property and killing of innocent people don’t represent America. They represent evil –pure and simple –unchecked evil, without conscience, without order, without decency, without honor. They are no one’s keepers, having lost all respect for life, even their own. They are the product of freedom without responsibility. I believe as long as America produces men (and women) like Jason Thomas we are going to be ok.