9/11 to me is fully summed up in Rick Rescorla. He died in the collapse of the Twin Towers evacuating Morgan Stanley employees to safety as their director of security. In that job, he had foreseen the terrorist attacks, and the evacuation plan and training he insisted upon saved many lives.
He gave his life with courage and extreme dignity so that others might live. He was also an immigrant and a veteran, having come to the United States a British citizen to enlist in the army to fight communism. It’s his picture that’s on the cover of the book We Were Soldiers Once…and Young. As a platoon commander, he fought in the Ia Drang Valley of Vietnam, the battle that is the subject of the book.
He didn’t have to come to America and enlist, but he did so out of conviction. He didn’t have to keep going into the Twin Towers to lead people out, but he did so out of duty, responsibility and humanity. His was a life that mattered, that made a difference and that was given sacrificially. A life well and honorably lived.
“From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…” – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address