Friday, September 12, 2003

A TRUE AMERICAN HERO
Do you want to meet the person that saved 2600 lives on September 11th? His name is Rick Rescorla. He was the head of security for the investment firm Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. I consider him the greatest American hero. E-v-e-r. You will not meet any person more courageous and fearsome than Rescorla. He fought against Communists in Cyprus and Rhodesia. He fought in Vietnam. In 1990, he evaluated the security in the twin towers and pointed out a weak point. That same point was where a truck bomb exploded in 1993, killing 6 and wounding thousands. He evacuated everone and was the very last person leaving the building. His biggest act of bravery came on that fateful day, September 11, 2001:

Rick Rescorla's morning is shrouded in some mystery. The tower went dark. Fire raged. Windows shattered. Rescorla headed upstairs before moving down; he helped evacuate several people above the 50th Floor. Stephan Newhouse, chairman of Morgan Stanley International, said at a memorial service in Hayle that Rescorla was spotted as high as the 72nd floor, then worked his way down, clearing floors as he went. He was telling people to stay calm, pace themselves, get off their cell phones, keep moving. At one point, he was so exhausted he had to sit for a few minutes, although he continued barking orders through his bullhorn. Morgan Stanley officials said he called headquarters shortly before the tower collapsed to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

John Olson, a Morgan Stanley regional director, saw Rescorla reassuring colleagues in the 10th-floor stairwell. "Rick, you've got to get out, too," Olson told him. "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out," Rescorla replied.

[...]

Rick did not make it out. Neither did two of his security officers who were at his side. But only three other Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated. However, over 2600 employees of Dean Whitter walked out of the south tower and in to the rest of their lives that morning.
Read his story here. Read it and weep. When you've done that, sign the online petition calling on the President to award the Medal of Freedom to Rick Rescorla.

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