- The Memorial
- Education Center
- Search The Wall
Programs & Events
The Wall That Heals 2013 Tour Schedule
Hosting The Wall That Heals
Requesting The Wall That Heals
Sign the Guestbook
In Memory Program In Memory Day
Ceremony Information 2013
Virtual In Memory Honor Roll
In Memory Application
Ceremonies Veterans Day
Mother's Day at The Wall
Father's Day Rose Remembrance
Christmas Tree at The Wall
Planning an Event
Cruising for a Cause
Echoes From The Wall Teacher's Guide
Web sites for educators and students
The Legacy of The Wall
Teach Vietnam Teachers Network
Request for Education Materials
Remembering Vietnam My War Story - Bill Nelson
My War Story - Marsh Carter
My War Story - Nancy Sinatra
My War Story - Sen. Chuck Hagel
My War Story - Ron Nessen
- Planned Giving
|Rick Rescorla is an American hero and a decorated Vietnam veteran. His name is not on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall because he came home from that war only to perish on a day when so many other Americans also died: September 11, 2001.|
On that day, 2,605 individuals in the World Trade Center’s twin towers died when the buildings collapsed after after terrorist hijackers flew into them. But, because of Rescorla’s skill, preparedness and bravery, nearly 2,700 employees of Morgan Stanley did not die that day.
As head of security for Morgan Stanley, the largest tenant in the World Trade Center, Rescorla worked out an evacuation plan for the people at Morgan Stanley. At his insistence, all employees practiced this emergency evacuation, walking down 44 flights of stairs, every three months.
It’s a good thing they did. When WTC Tower 1 was hit at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, Rescorla ignored the official advice to stay put and began the orderly evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,700 employees on 20 floors of WTC Tower 2, and 1,000 employees in WTC 5.
When Tower 2 was hit by an airplane at 9:02 a.m., Rescorla had already evacuated most of the employees, as well as many others, to safety—in less than 20 minutes.
When told to evacuate himself, Rescorla replied, “As soon as I make sure everyone else is out,” and went back in. He had been seen on floors as high as the 72nd that morning. Right before Tower 2 collapsed, he was spotted on the 10th floor, heading upward.
September 11 was not the first time that Rescorla’s bravery and skills had been tested. A platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), he served during the Vietnam War and took part in the bloody Battle of Ia Drang in 1965, which is described in the book and movie, "We Were Soldiers Once … And Young." Lt. Gen. Hal Moore, who took part in the battle and co-authored the book, described Rescorla as “the best platoon leader I ever saw.”
His actions on September 11 came as no surprise to Vietnam veterans, who see his early recognition of the dangers at the WTC and his insistence on being prepared as directly attributable to his military service. He was calm under fire, both when he served in Vietnam and when he led evacuation efforts on Sept. 11. He sang songs to keep people calm as they exited the towers, just as he had for his platoon in the Ia Drang Valley.
Of Morgan Stanley’s 2,700 employees, all but six made it out that day. Four of those were Rescorla and his three deputies, who were evacuating the buildings.
Many considered Rick Rescorla’s bravery to be exemplary on September 11. But, in fact, it was just another chapter in a life punctuated with acts of courage and loyalty.