Remembering Rick Rescorla 2011

Remembering Rick Rescorla2011 sees the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and that’s meant the day being marked maybe more notably than the other years. Back in 2005 I wrote an article called ‘Remembering Rick Rescorla’ after reading about him, so I thought I’d revisit that today. Whether you’ve heard of him or not, I think you’ll be glad you had a read…

Rick Rescorla was the head of security for Morgan Stanley, working in Tower 2.
Born Cyril Rescorla in England, he was impressed by the US forces that were based in his village during the war.

He wanted to join the US army, so that’s exactly what he did, after telling people that he now wanted to be called Rick. He won medals for bravery serving as a lieutenant in Vietnam, and afterwards settled in the US, and became a proud US citizen.

After the basement of the World Trade Center had been bombed in 1993, Rescorla was convinced that the complex was likely to be a target again, and that the method of attack would most likely be by air.

He worked out an evacuation plan for the 2700 Morgan Stanley employees, and held regular drills. Despite the fact that these didn’t make him the most popular person, they ended up all up knowing exactly what to do and where to go in the event of an incident.

When the first plane hit on 9/11, the Morgan Stanley employees stopped what
they were doing, and started to leave the building. The Port Authority who owned the buildings, announced that Tower 2 was safe, and people should not leave it. Most of the Morgan Stanley people decided to stick with Rescorla’s advice, that if in any doubt, they should get out of the building.

This meant that by the time the second plane hit, a huge number of workers were either already out, or getting out.

Rick rang his wife, telling her that he was doing his job and that she shouldn’t cry. When other workers told him he needed to get out, he told them he would do so once everyone else was out. One of the last things heard from him was when he said he was going back up to help people trapped on higher floors.

Out of 2700 Morgan Stanley employees, there were only 6 losses.

Rick Rescorla was one of them, as when the tower collapsed, he was still inside, trying to save others. His body was never found.

His life ended that day, but his actions then and in the years leading up to it,
helped to save hundreds and hundreds of other people.

I view this story as life affirming and another prompt, in my opinion, to view life as positively as possible. A big component of that is to make sure we appreciate the wealth of abundance we already have.

In amongst all the other stories of human nature that get told every 9/11, I always think of Rick Rescorla, and if by doing the same you appreciate life a little bit more, that’s no bad thing.

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    • Thanks Roy, many stories from that day, many ways to frame the history. This is a tale which should definitely not be lost.
      Cheers, Gordon

    • Indeed Missy,
      I do like to tell his story to others, I had never heard of the man until a few years after he died, but I think what he did is a legacy to be pointed out,
      cheers, Gordon

  • Thank you, Gordon. I worked with someone (now retired) who lost his son on 9/11, with a resulting impact on his family. 13 people who went to my high school (I grew up in NYC) died there also, including the youngest fireman to die that day. It is important to remember all those who sacrificed themselves so that others could escape.

    • Thanks Alana,
      It would have been easy for him to leave it to others once he had left the building, but he went back in. He wouldn’t have known it would come down, but his thoughts that day were for others, and it saved so many,
      cheers, Gordon

  • Thanks for sharing this Gordon. This was the first time I heard of Rick Rescorla. Very touching. He was a true leader and gained my deepest respect. Sharing this out shortly!

    To your Abundance,

    • I think your comment sums it up well – a touching story, a leader, and respect.
      Not someone I’ll be forgetting about anytime soon,

      • Was about to mention about Rick Rescorla in another blog comment and thought to come back here for some facts before I pen it down.

        Rereading your post above. I thought what made it more impactful was also the way you wrote it. It simply brought out the life n spirit of Rick himself. Thanks once again Gordon.