A Day of Heroes

LZAlbany

Like you, I haven’t forgotten, 19 years ago so many good men and women perished in the worst attack on American civilians ever mounted. But the response was so very heartening and has lessons for us today. This is the story of one of them, first published on 10 September 2011 as A Man for all Seasons, as indeed he was.

 

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 ,

Garryowen

but it doesn’t end there.

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 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 Cornish against the British, 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 10th 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

16 Responses to A Day of Heroes

  1. audremyers says:

    This is what I wrote in a global email to the congregation.

    Nineteen years ago today, we watched in horror and disbelief as planes hit the Twin Towers in New York City. And then the Pentagon. And then we heard that another plane went down in Pennsylvania. We couldn’t fathom such things! This was so beyond our imagination we could scarcely accept what we were seeing. This was impossible! How could this happen?

    Christians went to their knees, and then to their churches. We called all our families to make sure everyone was ok, regardless of where they lived. We needed to hear their voices.

    The Book of Common Prayer, our prayers as ‘just us folks’, offered comfort in “O God, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Then we made up our own prayers because this was so big, so frightening, so evil that we needed our prayers to cover all the people who were killed.

    It was the most extraordinary day – a day of inconceivable evil and unimaginable heroism. Even today we can barely grasp how this thing could have happened. Today, as we remember, our tears are as bitter, our hearts are as broken, and again we lean on the arm of the Lord to get us through even this simple remembrance
    .
    Dear God, our heavenly Father, keep us tightly in Your arms. Help us to remember that you will never leave us nor forsake us. Help us to remember that Your eye is ever on us and that we have only to ask and you will send Your love and peace to ease our hearts and minds. Remind us of Your great strength and tender mercies. All this we ask in the name of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Audre

    Liked by 2 people

  2. audremyers says:

    I cry. I cry like I did the day it happened. It’s that real and present to me even today. Burned into my brain is a phone call from my son, still in Florida at the time. I picked up the phone and he said, “Ma … they got the Pentagon”. I can barely type those words; never in his life had I ever heard fear before. On that day, as a full grown man and father of two – he was afraid. If the actual event doesn’t bring tears to my (which it always does), then the remembrance of his voice in that phone call surely does.

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      My Niece worked a few blocks from WTC, it was a very long day of worrying and praying finally relieved by an email from another niece about 8 that night that she was fine, although a bit footsore after walking home to Brooklyn.

      Like

  3. the unit says:

    “You know”, to coin a phrase… know what I mean. 🙂
    I doubt any of us was watching TV when it happened. I was doing something early when “some people did something”. #@%&!@&&#__& more.
    If one stops and thinks about it, and I mean all of it. Of what I can recall, like driving over a darkened bridge in blinding rain coming home to Fl. from Camp Lejeune (Navy guy, not Marine) with my DD-214 when on radio LBJ announced he was not running again.
    Not diminishing the importance of 9/11 remembrance at all, just adding it all up. Deficient leadership. Not the field warriors who paid for for all that adds up total cost.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Spot on, at least in my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Yeah, it was la Drang when I knew it was for real…again. Signed up with U.S. Navy. Coward I was , thinking that was safe. Being honest about it.
        So never even blistered a bone spur. Or cobwebs in my mind.
        Followed orders and did learn to shoot my .45 at Lejeune. Still can. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          I had a high number, and ROTC, by the time I left college it was 73, and I had other responsibilities. Still feel a bit guilty, but I was too young, would have been over by the time I got there.

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Well, you never know. Lots of brave sailors have given all too. Just thought cause I liked boats, Navy be better for me. Then they stationed me with the Marines, boats and sand and dirt.
          But obviously came out ok. No complaints and would try to do it better, if had to have/had to do it over again.
          Upstanding and supportive when and where it counts…forget this “guilty” you know what. 🙂

          Like

  4. JessicaHof says:

    Like most, I recall where I was. I was working from home, my then husband was due back from Northern Ireland where he was serving the Queen. He phoned me and told me to turn on the TV – it was so harrowing, all those poor people, and for what? America was wounded that day, but those who wounded her found it was a bad idea. God bless the USA! xx

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Nicholas says:

    “Mourn with those who mourn…” it is hard to know what to say – indeed I don’t think there is anything I can say, except we mourn with you this day. He who hurts one hurts us all. Love to you and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all as you commemorate and reflect.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. the unit says:

    Audre and me likely to get wet.
    Experts say I got to “watch”. So looking out/and all around as usual.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. the unit says:

    Just had a dream. Fleeting fast after getting wokier than woke and needing a pick me up snack @ nearly 10 pm. on Friday night. You know dreams, huh? It was good. Forget it all not. Will pick in the morning if i can. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.