He Saved Nearly 2700 Lives That Day: The Man Who Knew 9/11 Was Coming

Posted: September 12, 2016 in Amazing and Interesting Stories, Inspiration
Tags: , ,

Heroes don’t always look like heroes.

Ever heard of Rick Rescorla? Rick Rescorla not only saw 9/11 coming, but he told everyone he knew about his suspicions. Problem is, nobody who could do anything about it listened. And oh, by the way? Rick Rescorla saved 2,687 lives that day.

Rick Rescorla was born in Britain but became an American citizen and actually fought for the United States in the Vietnam War. As director of security for the financial services firm Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley, headquartered in the World Trade Center, he was worried about the safety of the towers.  Ever since the 1993 terrorist attack, when a bomb blew-up in the building’s basement, Rescorla worried that it would happen again.

During the 1993 attack, Rescorla was upset that the building evacuation had gone so poorly.  He vowed that such a mess would never happen again, and was among the first to understand what the new kind of terrorism was capable of doing.

Because he believed the Trade Center was a particularly vulnerable terrorist target, Rescorla recommended that his company find different space.  Because of lease obligations, however, that alternative was not possible.  Instead, Rick developed an emergency evacuation plan which he required the Morgan Stanley employees to practice over and over.

The employees didn’t like practicing emergency procedures so much, but would one day be thankful that Mr. Rescorla made them do it.

Rescorla could just not get out of his head that the Trade Center would be attacked again.  When it happened, on September 11, he and his team were ready.

When the Port Authority issued an announcement through its PA system that everyone in the South Tower of the World Trade Center should remain calm and stay at their desks, Rescorla couldn’t believe his ears.  He immediately ignored the order and began an evacuation process.

With bullhorn in hand, he ordered the Morgan Stanley employees to evacuate the building as he taught them.  Before the second plane struck the South Tower, his colleagues were on their way down the stairs.

Trying to keep people calm, under such incredibly stressful circumstances, Rescorla began singing inspirational songs as he led them down the stairs to safety.

Thousands of people—nearly 2700 to be precise— owe their lives to Rick Rescorla, and many are vocal about that fact to this day.

Because of Rick Rescorla’s foresight and belief that he knew what was right, nearly every Morgan Stanley employee made it safely out of the South Tower before it collapsed that day.

Fearless, Rescorla entered the South Tower of the World Trade Center to be sure that all of the Morgan Stanley employees had safely left the building.  He believed there were a few who still needed help.  He could never leave anyone behind, even if it meant sacrificing his own life.

Rescorla knew he was facing difficult odds when he reentered the Tower.  He was last seen near the 10th floor, on his way up to help the last of his colleagues leave the building.

Shortly before the South Tower collapsed, Rick called his wife Susan.  He told her this:

“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.”

Incredibly, all but thirteen Morgan Stanley employees had safely exited the building.

Rick Rescorla, the unsung hero of 9/11.

He saw it coming, and he was ready.

Sadly, when the South Tower collapsed, Rick was still in the building.  His body was never found.

The Man Who Saw It Coming: The Story of Rick Rescorla

  1. DJ Newman says:

    Great post. Very inspirational. I always wonder why we are so quick and to practice in school for these types of things, but I have NEVER done it as an adult. Talk throughs, but never the actual execution.

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