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Historical Snapshot: September 11, 2001

“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.”

These were the words of Rick Rescorla to his wife, spoken over phone on 9/11/2001.

Rick, a former British army paratrooper and U.S. Vietnam War veteran, was director of security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. After the North Tower was hit, he ignored the warning for people in the South Tower to stay at their desks. Instead, he took a bullhorn and ran up and down the more than twenty floors of company office space directing employees out of the building, singing songs, just as he did with his men in Vietnam, to keep everyone calm.

Once most of Morgan Stanley’s employees were evacuated, one of his colleagues told Rick to evacuate as well. “As soon as I make sure everyone else is out,” Rick responded.

Rick went back into the building, but he never made it out. He was last seen on the 10th floor, heading upward, shortly before the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 A.M.

Sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rick_Rescorla / Stewart, James B. (February 11, 2002). "The Real Heroes Are Dead". The New Yorker (newyorker.com/…02/11/the-real-heroes-are-dead)