Before tonight, I had never heard of Rick Rescorla, but having learned of him, I think I shall never forget him. It seems odd to me that there are
those among us who have so much heart, so much courage, and somehow manage to never garner the attention they deserve. In the case of Rescorla, he
certainly influenced those closest to him and thus his influence will reverberate throughout eternity, but if this man had had the attention of our
nation's leaders, we'd be living in a very different world today.
Cyril Richard Rescorla was born in Hayle, Cornwall, England in 1939. His earliest memories were of the Americans who came to England to prepare for
the invasion of Europe and he was smitten by all things American. It is said by some that he stopped calling himself Cyril and called himself Rick,
because it sounded so rugged, so adventurous, so American.
In 1957, Rescorla began what was to become a storied military career by enlisting in the British Army during which time he served in Cypress in an
intelligence unit. Later he served in a para-military police unit in what was then called Rhodesia and later served with the London Metropolitan
But, in 1963, Rescorla made a decision that in hindsight set him on a course with destiny. Rick Rescorla enlisted in the United States Army. After
completing basic training, he then attended Officers' Candidate School where he earned his commission and then he attended airborne school after
which he was shipped out to serve in Vietnam.
In the Ia Drang Valley, Rescorla distinguished himself on the battlefield by earning a Silver Star in one of the bloodiest battles of the war in
Vietnam. The battle was memorialized in the book and the movie called, "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young."
After Vietnam, Rescorla did what many have said was his lifelong dream. He became a US citizen. While continuing to serve in the Army Reserve, he
earned college and law degrees, married and started a family.
It would seem that for most men that would have been the beginning of life of obscurity and mediocrity. But, for Rick Rescorla, it was really the
beginning of a mission that would change the lives of some 2700 people and, perhaps, the world. In 1985, Rick took a job in corporate security with
Dean Witter in the World Trade Center.
Immediately, Rescorla understood the kind of target the WTC was to the enemies of the United States. Not only that, but Rick had been paying
attention to US foreign policy over the years and he understood the nature of our enemies far better than even those at the highest levels of
With the help of qualified friends, whom he hired as security consultants, Rescorla did a top to bottom security analysis of the WTC and came to the
conclusion that the parking garage under the Trade Center was it's Achilles' Heel. But despite his report to his superiors, no action was taken and
in 1993, Islamic fundamentalist terrorists drove a truck loaded with explosives into the parking garage and ignited it. Six people died and
three-hundred were injured in the chaos that resulted. Many noted that Rescorla was the last man out of the towers, having first made sure that those
in his charge were evacuated.
From that day forward, Rescorla instituted a security regime that confronted the terror threat head on. He was convinced that terrorists would strike
again and that the next time it could very well be from the air. His security plan was comprehensive and in the minds of some, obsessive, when the
evacuation drills continued years after the attack of 1993.
But on September 11, 2001, Rick Rescorla once again became a hero, and in the minds of many, he became a prophet--that voice in the wilderness. When
the first plane struck the first tower, Rick Rescorla went full force into his planned evacuation, making sure that every one of Morgan Stanley Dean
Witters' more than 2000 employees were evacuated from the second tower, despite the announcements by the Port Authority that employees should remain
at their desks, so as not to interfere with rescue efforts in the stricken tower. Rick Rescorla's body has never been found. He was last seen on
the tenth floor of the second tower going back up, after all his people were safely evacuated, to help others who were trapped.
It seems a shame that it took me over six years to learn of this man's life and his impact on history. I did a search here at ATS and his name
yields not a single hit. Here we have man who was born in England, served with distinction in our Army in the most unpopular war in our history, who
predicted not one, but two attacks on two of the most prominent icons of our nation, who sang "God Bless America" and other songs over his bullhorn
to keep up morale as his people descended some seventy floors to safety and who died helping those for whom he had no responsibility, except as we all
have for our fellow men.
I would ask our members and readers to take the time to read about this genuine American hero, to watch the documentaries "The Man Who Predicted
9/11" and "Voice of the Prophet"
and to consider the magnitude of this man's
character. We don't hear much about flesh and blood heroes in today's America and it's a real shame that such a man could have lived and died and
most of us might have never noticed.
Medal of Freedom
[edit on 2006/1/8 by GradyPhilpott]