It was a clear vivid blue September day. Americans were at work, at school, traveling, and some on the west coast just waking up. A normal Tuesday for all. And then, in an instant everything changed. At 8:46 AM the first plane, American Airlines Flight #11 slammed into the World Trade Center.
America and the world watched in shock, disbelief, and tears as terrorists slammed two planes into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and the fourth into a Pennsylvania field. Yet from the horrors of that day came stories of resilience, resolve, courage, and American exceptionalism.
40 courageous Americans, terrified yet resolute, charged the cockpit of Flight 93 so that the terrorists wouldn’t be able to fly that plane into another building. They sacrificed their lives so that countless others may live.
Stand And Never Yield
Rick Rescorla, a native of Cypress Wales, after years of service in the British military, moved to the United States. Not long afterwards he voluntarily joined the United States Army and went to Vietnam It was then, in 1965, that he played a pivotal role in the battle of la Drang Valley.
His actions saved more than 100 men, all while they held off nearly 2,000 NVA soldiers.
Hal Moore, the Vietnam veteran and author of “We Were Soldiers”, said that Rescorla was, “the greatest platoon commander I have ever seen.”
Fast forward to 2001. Rick, a security expert with Morgan Stanley, was dying of bone cancer. But he was at work that day in WTC Tower 2. Using his bullhorn, he rounded up the Morgan Stanley employees and sent them down the staircases to safety. Much of the time he was singing the same song he used to encourage his men in the battle of la Drang Valley:
“Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming
Can’t you see their spear points gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield. Men of Cornwall stand ye steady
It cannot be ever said ye for the battle were not ready.
STAND AND NEVER YIELD!”
– “Men of Harlech”
Rick Rescorla perished that day. But his actions, his courage, his unwillingness to yield are not forgotten.
Faithful unto Death
That is the motto of the New York City Police Department. On that day, 72 law enforcement officers exemplified that motto.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, seventy-two officers from a total of eight local, state, and federal agencies were killed when terrorist hijackers working for the al Qaeda terrorist network, headed by Osama bin Laden, crashed two of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. After the impact of the first plane, putting the safety of others before their own, law enforcement officers along with fire and EMS personnel, rushed to the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to aid the victims and lead them to safety. Due to their quick actions, it is estimated that over 25,000 people were saved.
On that beautiful September morning, the fabric of America was torn by the actions of terrorists. Yet America did not yield. America did not falter. Men and women ran into danger to save others.
“Today is a day to be proud to be American”
Those were among the last words that many of the 2700 lives saved heard Rick Rescorla shout that day through his bullhorn. Today we are All proud to be American. All of us at Integrity Ballistics join Americans around the country and world in Honor and Remembrance of the lives lost and the lives saved on September 11, 2001.