President Donald Trump this week presented the Presidential Citizens Medal posthumously to the family of Richard (Rick) Cyril Rescorla, who died while saving the lives of nearly 2,700 people at the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Trump on Nov. 7 awarded the UK-born Vietnam veteran with the second-highest civilian award after the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
â€œOn behalf of the entire nation, I pledge we will forever and ever memorialize this American hero,â€ Trump said at the conference room dedication.
NYM’s annual tribute to Rick Rescorla, published every September 11th, reads:
Rescorla was 62 years old, and suffering from prostate cancer on September 11, 2001. Nonetheless, he successfully evacuated all but 6 of Morgan Stanleyâ€™s 2800 employees. (Four of the six lost included Rescorla himself and three members of his own security staff.)
Rescorla travelled personally, bullhorn in hand, as low as the 10th floor and as high as the 78th floor, encouraging people to stay calm and make their way down the stairs in an orderly fashion. He is reported by many witnesses to have sung â€œGod Bless America,â€ â€œMen of Harlech, â€ and favorites from Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. â€œToday is a day to be proud to be an American,â€ he told evacuees.
A substantial portion of the South Towerâ€™s workforce had already gotten out, thanks to Rescorlaâ€™s efforts, by the time the second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower at 9:02:59 AM. Just under an hour later, as the stream of evacuees came to an end, Rescorla called his best friend Daniel Hill on his cell phone, and told him that he was going to make a final sweep. Then the South Tower collapsed.
Rescorla had observed a few months earlier to Hill, â€œMen like us shouldnâ€™t go out like this.â€ (Referring to his cancer.) â€œWeâ€™re supposed to die in some desperate battle performing great deeds.â€ And he did.
Resorla previously served as an officer in the US Army in Vietnam and he was previously awarded:
The Silver Star
The Bronze Star, with Oak Leaf Cluster (indicating a second award)
The Purple Heart
The Vietnam Gallantry Cross
The Combat Infantryman Badge
Presidential Citizens Medal