(May 27, 1939-September 11, 2001)
Born in Hayle, Cornwall, United Kingdom
Cyril Richard Rescorla
Known as 'The Man Who Predicted 9/11'
Retired Colonel, former Second Lieutenant
Served in the Vietnam War (1965 - 1967)
Security Director for Dean Witter Reynolds (later Morgan Stanley) at the World Trade Center in New York City (1985 - 2001)
Died during the World Trade Center terror attacks while leading evacuees from the South Tower (Sept. 11, 2001)
Subject of the Channel 4 documentary 'The Man Who Predicted 9/11' (2005)
Namesake for the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience, presented annually by the Department of Homeland Security
Why he might be annoying
He has been overshadowed by (the equally heroic) John P. O'Neill.
He clashed with many of his superiors in security during his time with Morgan Stanley.
He met his second wife after she approached him in the park to ask why he was running barefoot.
He nursed a borderline obsession with appearing 'American,' going so far as to drop the name 'Cyril' to go by the more generic 'American' sounding name, 'Rick.'
He left service in Vietnam after two years because he had difficulty personally detaching himself from the men who served under him.
When he learned that Mel Gibson was adapting 'We Were Soldiers' (a book he had been interviewed for) to film, he reportedly told his wife he had no plans to see it because 'the real heroes are dead.'
He vocally criticized the police response to the Columbine High School shootings, accusing them of displaying 'abject cowardice' and of 'sitting outside while kids were getting killed' (he also reasoned that - were he younger - he could have 'flown to Colorado, gone in that building, and ended it before the law did').
Why he might not be annoying
He was fluent in Arabic, Portuguese, and Italian.
He suffered from prostate cancer, which he spent the last seven years of his life treating.
He served with distinction in Vietnam, and earned both a Purple Heart and Silver Star for his bravery under combat in the Battle of Ia Drang.
His likeness was actually featured on the front of the 1st edition book jacket for Joseph L. Galloway's 'We Were Soldiers Once... And Young' (1992).
He was prescient in his belief that, after the Pan Am Bombing of 1988, that the World Trade Center could be an easy target for terrorists.
He was deemed as overzealous and eccentric when he first started clashing with corporate security heads, but was vindicated after the 1993 WTC Bombing.
He repeatedly urged senior executives with Morgan Stanley to consider relocating their offices out of the World Trade Center, but his pleas were ignored.
The specificity of his predictions regarding a terror attack on the WTC are shocking in retrospect (he reasoned that, post-1993, an attack would HAVE to come from the air, likely via airplanes).
He was extremely vigilant; regularly drilling all Morgan Stanley staff members in how to properly evacuate the building in the event of an attack (his emergency procedure was credited with saving over 250 lives on September 11th).
When the North Tower was initially struck by a plane, he undermined the Port Authority's instructions for employees to remain at their desks, ordering employees to leave the building with his bullhorn.
He comforted employees evacuating down the stairwell by singing Cornish folk songs he had learned as a child in England (which he also did for soldiers during his time in Vietnam).
After successfully evacuating the South Tower, himself, he made the bold decision to reenter the building to see as many people out safely as he could (he was last seen only minutes before the building's collapse).
Friends and colleagues theorized that his insistence on getting as many out of the building as possible was rooted in his belief that he had 'failed' the men who had died under him during combat in Vietnam (he was determined not to repeat the cycle).
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