Rescorla , a 62-year-old retired and decorated U.S. Army colonel, had
focused on security at the World
for years. Prior to the bombing of the World
in 1993, he had approached the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey
about security vulnerabilities in the WTC’s garage. He was told to focus only
on the floors that Morgan Stanley used.
Rick Rescorla was told to navigate his own fishbowl. He did that. But, Rick Rescorla didn’t stop thinking about security weaknesses and terrorism inside, and outside his fishbowl.
In 1997, Rescorla became director of security at Morgan
Stanley, where he maintained vigilant attention to the firm’s — and the
building’s — safety. He held twice-yearly
evacuation drills by the stairwell for the firm’s 22 floors in the south tower.
The result: On Sept. 11, 2001, he was ready
Despite having received official instructions to stay put after the first tower was struck at 8:46 a.m, 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.
Rescorla used his cell phone to get updates on news footage as he directed employees by bullhorn. He also called his wife, Susan.
“If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been
happier,” he said.
A fuzzy photo of Rescorla speaking into the bullhorn. He was last
seen on the 10th floor of the World Trade Center 9-11-01.
Sacrifice ~ Empowerment ~ Love ~ Friendship
What acts of service have you witnessed by leaders?
What does sacrifice mean to you, and how does sacrifice breed heroism?