In the shadow of the 9/11 attacks that shook the world, there lies a remarkable story of bravery and sacrifice that often goes untold. On the anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks, the world remembers the heroic actions of Rick Rescorla, a man who defied orders, saved lives, and became a symbol of courage.
Rick Rescorla served as the head of security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Rick’s extra carefulness
Prior to the devastating events of September 11, 2001, Rick was always skeptical about the vulnerability of the Towers basement. After the 1993 bombing at World Trade Center, Rick implemented regular evacuation drills, using his unmistakable megaphone to guide thousands of employees down the stairwells to safety. During the drills, he would sing Welsh and Cornish songs.
Rick’s message to his colleagues was, “In an emergency, no matter the chaos, leave your offices, descend the stairwells, and evacuate the building.
Rick’s action during the 9/11 attacks
On the day of the 9/11 attacks, when the first plane struck the North Tower, the Port Authority advised occupants of the South Tower to stay put, declaring the area secure.
But Rick ignored the orders, picked up his megaphone, and led his employees to safety.
Even after the second plane struck their tower, Rick’s Cornish songs kept their spirits up as they evacuated. He didn’t stop there, though. After ensuring his employees were safe, he went back into the South Tower, searching for survivors.
On the day, Rick had called his wife, Susan. He said, “Stop crying. I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.”
Unfortunately, Rick never made it out of the South Tower alive. Yet, thanks to his leadership, determination, and unwavering dedication to the safety of others, all but six of the more than 2700 Morgan Stanley employees under his care survived.