For most Americans, the attack on the World Trade Center was a horrific and life-changing shock.
But for Rick Rescorla, it was as though a guiding force had led him in almost miraculous ways to anticipate a terrorist attack, learn how to prepare for it, and help as many people as possible to be rescued.
On the day of September 11, 2001, Rick oversaw the safe evacuation of 2,700 Morgan Stanley employees.
Rick's calm and comforting influence enabled workers who were "ripped with fear" to keep their composure. Over and over he assured them, "We're good Americans. Stay calm, keep moving."
Long after he had done far more than anyone would have expected, he went from floor to floor with a megaphone to call out, "If anyone is alive on this floor, make some noise." He showed the terrified stragglers the way to safety, then returned to seek out any others who might need him.
His valiant efforts made all the difference.
All but six Morgan Stanley employees were reunited with their families.
9/11 was a tragedy that Rick Rescorla predicted and tried to avert. But in the end, he would become one of its victims. He died in the noble way he had lived.
Rick was a courageous and caring man who sacrificed himself to save the lives of others. It's an honor to remember him on this sacred day set aside so that we never forget.
But be sure to have some tissues handy -- you'll most likely need them.
I plan to share this with my older children. You may want to also. See what you think. For me, the heart-wrenching parts are worth it to meet a real, live hero.
In the 1998 video below, Rick Rescorla describes some of his military service and warns us of the danger of engaging in military actions that create terrorists that hate us around the world. His words proved to be prophetic. (Notice the World Trade Center in the background.)