Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Remembered

Hero of 9/11 gave life to save thousands

Richard "Rick" Rescorla has been called a "prophet" for being so ready for the attacks, "the Man Who Predicted 9/11" in a History Channel special, and a true American hero by countless others.

The tragic morning of Sept. 11, 2001 held unexpected miracles, and Rick was at the center of one of the greatest -- the evacuation of financial-services behemoth Morgan Stanley.

As a 62-year-old retired and decorated U.S. Army colonel, he focused on security at the World Trade Center for years. Even after he was told to focus only on his companies' floors, he didn't stop thinking about security weaknesses and terrorism. He insisted on holding twice-yearly evacuation drills by the stairwell for the firm's 22 floors in the south tower. The result: On Sept. 11, 2001, his team was ready.

Rescorla told Morgan Stanley staffers to follow his evacuation plan, and he sent them two by two, as they had practiced, down the many flights of stairs. His decision and his preparation made all the difference. Although 13 employees -- including Rescorla -- perished, more than 2,500 employees left the tower alive. That's where the word "miracle" comes in. It's also where the word "hero" comes in.

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