A Man for All Seasons

LZAlbany

I first wrote this for 9/11 in 2012, and have published it several times since. It is one of those things and one of those people we should remember. A man who came to join us, and to whom many of us owe their lives

There were plenty of heroes on 9/11. Fire and police and port authority all going in. Passengers counterattacking on Flight 93 and various civilians and military in New York and the Pentagon. Even what the military calls NCA, the National Command Authority.

If

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

….
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!

~Kipling

But the one that is my especial hero of the day; is my hero because of how he lived his life.

A British NCO from Cornwall who served in the Parachute Regiment immigrated to the US, served as Platoon Leader, B Co 2/7 Cavalry in the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) in the battle of Ia Drang, where he gave the British commands of ‘Fix Bayonets, On Line, Ready forward’. His picture is on the cover of ‘We Were Soldiers’. It is a praiseworthy story prompting us to Remember:

But it doesn’t end there, although that charge was enough to make him a hero as long as the United States of America shall last.

On 9/11 he was vice-president in charge of security at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter. We all know what happened that day, but do we remember that only six Morgan Stanley employees died when their building was obliterated. One of them was this man, now a retired Colonel, who stayed to make sure he got his people out. In all those situations, he was singing an old song commemorating the resistance of the Welsh against the English, and Roark’s Drift in the Boer War, and other engagements. That song is:

Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

That man was Colonel Rick Rescorla and he is a legend in the 7th Cavalry. He is not a man any of us should ever forget. A real-life Sagaman, who lived quietly amongst us. From Shakespeare:

“His life was gentle, and the elements
So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world ‘This was a man!'”

The tragedy of 911 was this; multiplied by three thousand.

Never forget.

After having reached safety, Rescorla returned to the building to rescue others still inside. He was last seen heading up the stairs of the tenth floor of the collapsing WTC 2. His remains have not been recovered. He left a wife and two children.

He is my hero not least because he fulfilled to the last breath the leadership credo that the Air Force taught me and so many others:

First: The Mission

Always: the People

Last: Yourself

And thus, on this September 13h the story of how the people of a great American financial institution were rescued by the 7th U.S. Cavalry (Custer’s Own).




			

About Neo
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

7 Responses to A Man for All Seasons

  1. audremyers says:

    I never saw this until this morning. Moved to tears. And humbled. The original Cajun Navy, perhaps…

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      Audre, can you explain? The video is coming up unavailable here. Likely you’re right but I’d like to see it.

      Like

      • audremyers says:

        It shows how people were taken off Manhattan Island by every thing that floated that day – tugs, ferries, personal boats, pleasure boats, etc. At the end, Tom Hanks (narrator) mentions that it was the largest boatlift in history – Dunkirk was 339,000 British and French soldiers in 9 days; 9/11 was almost 500,000 people in less than 9 hours.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          What a great piece of film! I’d read a bit about it, but not much and only in the few weeks after. Then again it’s pretty much what Americans do. I have an article that I’m working on, from a French soldier who was stationed with our guys in Afghanistan, one of the things he says is exactly that, it’s the Americans who will rescue you, they just go and do it, everybody else sits around waiting for orders. I’ve never been as proud of my countrymen as I was those weeks after the attack. Thank you, my friend.

          Obviously, it came through this time! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

    • the unit says:

      Saw below. I’d heard of it, but never seen it. Thanks.
      There are Americans from sea to shining sea…and in between.
      Even NY which we sometimes think has sold out. (well, according to what i’ve read on some sites) We gonna need us all.

      Liked by 2 people

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