September 11, 2011

September 11th

For about a week now, I've tried not to write this post. For no particular reason really, I just feel like 9/11 is a day where people focus on the negativity of the attacks in 2001. Instead I really wanted to write about what I remember and the little bit of positivity that came out of it.

When the terrorist attacks happened ten years ago, I was in third grade. My teachers told us nothing at school, and I didn't suspect a thing. When I came home my mom told my brother and I what had happened, but I wasn't extremely upset. As an eight year old, I didn't really have a grasp on what was going on. Instead I was mad that that my teachers hadn't trusted us with that kind of information (but looking back, who in their right mind would tell an eight year old that info.?).

In more recent years, I've learned more and more about what happened in 2001. I've seen videos and heard stories. I also visited ground zero last spring when I went to New York. 9/11 does interest me because it had such a huge impact on our country (for example, can anyone remember a time where there wasn't such tight security at airports?) but there are certain stories that just hit me in this spiritual way.

One story that I think is just so awe-inspiring is about Rick Rescola, director of security for Morgan Stanley, which was headquartered in the World Trade Center. A lot of people know this story, but after hearing about it again this past week, I need to share it.

Rick Rescola started at Dean Witter Renolds in New York City in 1984. Then, after this company merged with Morgan Stanley in 1997, Rescola became director of security, which was headquartered in the World Trade Center. In 1993 there was a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. A truck filled with explosives was detonated in the garage; Rescola was infuriated that the employees of Morgan Stanley didn't listen to his evacuation plans, causing many of them to be stuck in their offices for hours before they could receive help.

After that, Rescola began planning for another, future terrorist attack. Due to the iconic image of the World Trade Center, its proximity to Wall Street, and the huge amount of people working there, Rescola was sure that another terrorist attack was unavoidable. He made sure that there were lights in the stairwells that would not go out after an attack, installed machines to clear the stairwells of smoke in case of a fire, and mandated evacuation drills every three months or so. He also talked with several security personnel, and decided that the next attack would probably come by air. He tried to prepare for this as best he could, but there was little he could do.

On September 11th, 2001, after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, Rescola began evacuating the  2,700 Morgan Stanley employees. As the employees left the building, Rescola, a British army veteran, sang military songs over his bullhorn to keep everyone calm. Then, he went back into the building to make sure that everyone was out. When the tower collapsed, Rescola was still inside. He had gotten all but 3 of the 2,700 Morgan Stanley employees out safely.

This story amazes me because it makes me truly believe that everyone is here on earth for a reason. I think that Rick Rescorla was put here to save those 2,697 people. I can't believe that he predicted what was coming when no one else did, and I marvel at his immense bravery.

Check out the memorial site here to see pictures of the memorial, located at ground zero, opening to the public 9/12/11. It's really beautiful, and I think it's a great way to commemorate all those who died.

God Bless to everyone who was affected by the events on 9/11 ten years ago, especially to the family members of those who passed. I'm praying for all of you.

So what do you guys remember? What reminds you that we're all blessed? I'd love to hear from you on Twitter.