How Rick Rescorla beat terrorism on 9/11/2001:
Instead of remembering the names of the perpetrators, I propose we spend more mental energy remembering the names of our heroes. On 9/11/2001, an innumerable amount of our fellow citizens risked (and GAVE) their lives to help save the lives of complete strangers. Throughout that horrific event and the days that followed, through unimaginable adversity, so many heroes showed the true essence of courage, bravery and love for the life of humanity. Their actions that day brought glimmers of light into the deepest recesses of an unthinkable darkness.
I was introduced to the name, Rick Rescorla, in an article titled, “A Survival Guide to Catastrophe” by Amanda Ripley. Please read about Mr. Rescorla and his heroic actions on 9/11/01 in this excerpt by Amanda Ripley provided on her website here: http://www.amandaripley.com/blog/call-for-nominations-the-rick-rescorla-award
After you read the excerpt, I ask two things from you:
1. Allow yourself to get caught up in the emotion. Emotion is a wonderful way to celebrate our humanity if it is an emotion of love, of respect, of joy, of happiness. Rick Rescorla saved 2,687 souls on that day. Every time I read Rick Rescorla’s story I feel a wave of emotion well up inside me. He is a shining example of the selfless feats humans are capable of achieving amidst cruel adversity, stress, fear and mortal danger. His story can provide us a beacon of hope reminding us that within our humanity there exists a light that no darkness can overcome.
2. Read the story a second time and look at what can be learned from Rick Rescorla’s actions. There are many survival tips here and I absolutely encourage everyone to study survival strategies and tactics.
However, reflect too on the discipline he instilled in the employees of the tower. Examine the resolve he demonstrated in creating a plan and practicing that plan week in and week out so that success was probable, not just possible. He used the same principles elite athletes use in their training however I argue that, even without taking into account the saving of 2,687 souls, the actions of Rick Rescorla deserve more merit because he didn’t have a scheduled date to show the culmination of his efforts. Mr. Rescorla did what he did because he knew it was the right thing to do if he wanted to have any kind of success should the unthinkable happen. Rick Rescorla’s actions shine a spotlight on all of our daily disciplines that we put into practice, consciously or not, that change the courses of our lives. Maybe not in such a catastrophic and heroic instant but the change is made nonetheless.
Unfortunately, it might be inescapable that certain humans will try to inflict terror, pain and even death on other humans but we do not have to succumb to their fear, their anguish. By reflecting and learning from the heroes of any given act of terrorism we take away some of the terror. We minimize the fear-based paradigm aftermath of the act and replace it with a paradigm of increased knowledge, with respect for new heroes that emerge.
We might not be able to abolish fear but we can manage it. On this day especially, let our fellow citizen, Rick Rescorla, show us how fear can be blind-folded, brought to its knees and restrained long enough for 2,687 souls to quietly pass down a dark, smoke-filled stairway emerging safely into daylight and to their lives that yet awaited.
In honor of a fallen hero, Rick Rescorla, and in the restoration of faith that many more like him can, and will, emerge from our masses.
Chris B. Jácome
Again, I want to thank Amanda Ripley for introducing me to Rick Rescorla through her article, “A Survival Guide to Catastrophe”. His life and story changes me for the better each time I reflect upon it.