This Is Long Overdue

Yesterday Fox News reported that President Trump has awarded the posthumous Presidential Citizens Medal to Rick Rescorla. Rick Rescorla was one of the heroes of September 11, 2001. This medal is long overdue.

The article reports:

The U.K.- born Rescorla worked as the director of security for Morgan Stanley, which had its headquarters in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Following the 1993 bomb attack on the Trade Center, Rescorla designed and implemented evacuation drills to prepare employees for another attack.

Rescorla was born in Cornwall and served in the British army in Cyprus. He also worked as a policeman in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) before coming to America at the age of 24. He enlisted in the Army and fought in Vietnam before leaving active duty in 1967. He then studied at the University of Oklahoma, earning a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a master’s degree in English. He also earned a law degree from Oklahoma City University and taught at the University of South Carolina. He retired from the Army in 1990.

The article continues:

After the first plane hit the towers on 9/11, Rescorla ordered Morgan Stanley employees to get out of the South Tower and ignore building announcements telling people to stay at their desks. As he directed workers in the stairwells, Rescorla went right on singing his hymns. One of Rescorla’s last phone calls was to his close friend, Dan Hill, who he had known since his days in Rhodesia. Rescorla told Hill to get to New York to help with the aftermath of the attack.

The article concludes:

Rescorla was last seen climbing up the stairs on the 10th floor of the South Tower. He is credited with saving nearly 2,700 people that day. He was 62 when he died.

Rescorla’s wife Susan, who has spent the last 18 years preserving her late husband’s memory, accepted the honor from Trump.

“Of all the accolades… and all the people along the journey who have touched my life, each is so memorable because I was able to learn more about this incredible man than I had during our short time while he was here on earth,” she said. Susan and Rick had been married for fewer than three years at the time of his death.

In his remarks, the president recalled Rescorla’s last words to his wife, spoken in a phone call from the South Tower: “I’ve never felt better in my life. I love you so.”

For more of Rick Rescorla’s story, see the article posted here on September 10, 2008.

The Day Before

This is an updated version of an article I posted on September 10, 2008:

Today is September 10, 2018. Seventeen years ago, it was the day before. We were all going about our business, enjoying a beautiful fall, and making plans for the future. I wonder, if we could have seen into the future, is there anything we would have done differently that day.

There was one man who was living in a different world than the rest of us–even on September 10. His name was Rick Rescorla. He was the vice president for security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, a brokerage house with 2,700 employees in the World Trade Center in the south tower on floors forty-four through seventy-four and 1,000 employees in Building Five across the plaza. Because of the foresight of this man, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter lost only six employees in the bombing of the World Trade Center. His story is told on his website, RickRescorla.com.

Rick felt strongly that the terrorists who had attempted the first World Trade Center bombing would try again. He asked his company executives to move from the towers, but the company’s lease went until 2006. Rick held evacuation drills on a regular basis in spite of the grumbling of his fellow employees. Every few months all 2,700 employees would march down the stairs and out of the building in an evacuation drill. On September 11, 2001, by the time the second airplane hit the second tower, most of the company’s employees were already out of the building. There were three employees missing, and Rick and two other people went back into the building to find them.   All six were killed when the building collapsed.¹

I tell this story today for two reasons. First, Rick Rescorla is a hero whose foresight saved many lives. Second, Rick Rescorla understood that there were terrorists who wanted to destroy America even before there was a “war on terror”. We need to think back to September 10, 2001, and remember what our innocence was like and the price we paid for it. Thank God for a man who chose not to be innocent.

  1. Most of the information in the above two paragraphs is from the book BREAKDOWN by Bill Gertz (subtitled “How America’s Intelligence Failures Led to September 11”).

Our World Changed Thirteen Years Ago

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: View of the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. (Image: US National Park Service ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thirteen years ago, Islamic terrorists turned commercial airline jets into weapons of terror. It was a wake-up call for almost all Americans. There were, however, some people in strategic places that were prepared. One of those people was Rick Rescorla.

The following is from a previous article at rightwinggranny.com: written on September 10, 2008:

Today is September 10, 2008. Seven years ago, it was the day before. We were all going about our business, enjoying a beautiful fall, and making plans for the future. I wonder, if we could have seen into the future, is there anything we would have done differently that day.

There was one man who was living in a different world than the rest of us–even on September 10. His name was Rick Rescorla. He was the vice president for security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, a brokerage house with 2,700 employees in the World Trade Center in the south tower on floors forty-four through seventy-four and 1,000 employees in Building Five across the plaza. Because of the foresight of this man, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter lost only six employees in the bombing of the World Trade Center. His story is told on his website, RickRescorla.com.

Rick felt strongly that the terrorists who had attempted the first World Trade Center bombing would try again. He asked his company executives to move from the towers, but the company’s lease went until 2006. Rick held evacuation drills on a regular basis in spite of the grumbling of his fellow employees. Every few months all 2,700 employees would march down the stairs and out of the building in an evacuation drill. On September 11, 2001, by the time the second airplane hit the second tower, most of the company’s employees were already out of the building. There were three employees missing, and Rick and two other people went back into the building to find them.   All six were killed when the building collapsed.¹

I tell this story today for two reasons. First, Rick Rescorla is a hero whose foresight saved many lives. Second, Rick Rescorla understood that there were terrorists who wanted to destroy America even before there was a “war on terror”. We need to think back to September 10, 2001, and remember what our innocence was like and the price we paid for it. Thank God for a man who chose not to be innocent.

Most of the information in the above two paragraphs is from the book BREAKDOWN by Bill Gertz (subtitled “How America’s Intelligence Failures Led to September 11″).

I have a friend who waited for a phone call that never came. Today we remember her daughter, Susan Blair, and all the Americans who were killed on September 11, 2001.

 

We Remember September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

Image via Wikipedia

We were young and naïve. We were like children who trust and believe that the world is a safe place. We hadn’t yet grasped the fact that there were people in the world who meant to harm us. But among us were those who were not naïve.  Men who understood the threat and tried to warn us and prepare us for what they suspected was coming.  One of those men was Rick Rescorla. Rick Rescorla died on September 11, 2001, when the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today reminding us of the accomplishments of Rick Rescorla.

Scott Johnson reports:

I first wrote about Rick Rescorla in 2003 after finishing James Stewart’s Heart of a Soldier, the book based on Stewart’s New Yorker article “The real heroes are dead.” (“The real heroes are dead” is what Rescorla would say in response to recognition of his heroism on the battlefield in Vietnam.) The book is good, not great, but it touches on profound themes in a thought-provoking way: life and death, love and friendship, heroism and sacrifice, destiny and fate, man’s search for meaning, all fall within the book’s compass.

On September 11, 2001, Rick Rescorla was working for Morgan Stanley in the south tower of the World Trade Center. He was head of security for the company and had routinely conducted evacuation drills. On September 11, he led the employees down the tower’s one usable fire escape to safety. He was killed when he went back into the tower looking for stragglers.

We need to learn the lesson of September 11. Even when things are peaceful, we need to be aware of the events and people around us. We need to understand that the world is not always welcoming to the principles of freedom and democracy. We need to remember the heroes of that day—there were many—some we know about and some we don’t know about. We honor those heroes by moving forward with the lessons we learned on September 11, 2001.

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