Nearly any American old enough to remember can tell you where they were when news broke about the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
A Day that Changed Everything
Countless stories tell about heroes on the ground and in the hijacked jet. The horror of those attacks gave way to a steeled resolve that we would never allow such horror on our soil again.
Time heals all wounds they say, but warriors often doubt it. That day changed lives forever. Countless people found themselves alone to deal with the loss of loved ones. Many had to come to terms with their escape while others perished. Some still try to cope with the ones they couldn’t save. However, no community experienced the impact more than our warriors.
One such warrior is Lt. Col. Ted Anderson. At high risk to himself, he carried two injured co-workers to safety outside the Pentagon. Seeing there was more to be done, he re-entered the building helping two more. One was afire when he stepped in to tackle the man and squelch the burning clothing.
Outside again, a firefighter prevented Anderson from re-entering the building a third time. That angered Anderson: “To me, this was a battlefield,” he said later, “You don’t leave your comrades on the battlefield.”
Some distance away in New York City, two Marine veterans, Jason Thomas and Dave Kames, stepped into the carnage of the fallen World Trade Center and worked tirelessly to assist a pair of injured Port Authority Police trapped beneath the rubble.
According to the Associated Press, Thomas said: “Someone needed help. It didn’t matter who. I didn’t even have a plan. But I have all this training as a Marine, and all I could think was, ‘My city is in need.'”1
Meanwhile, Cyril Richard Rescoria, a veteran of both the US and British Armies, led evacuees from the South Tower at the World Trade Center. A Vietnam vet and decorated officer, Rescoria kept his charges moving forward by leading them in songs.
Known as “Hard Core,” he led a storied life, serving as a paratrooper with the British Parachute Regiment. Rescoria also served under Lt. Col. Hal Moore whose book, We Were Soldiers Once… and Young inspired the Mel Gibson film, We Were Soldiers (2002).
On 9/11, Rescoria, now the Chief Security Officer for Morgan Stanley, put a plan into action he made long before the attack on the World Trade Center. Ignoring the announcements over the PA system to shelter in place, Rescoria successfully led his own evacuation down the South Tower stairwell from the 44th floor. He received credit with saving most of the 2687 Morgan Stanley employees.
After exiting the building and seeing the extent of the damage, Rescoria went back inside to help others. Sadly, he was last seen on the 10th floor heading upward. His heroism might best be described by the lyrics of one of the battle songs of Cornwall he sang while evacuating people from the South Tower: “Men of Cornwall stand ye steady, it cannot be ever said ye for the battle were not ready, Stand and never yield!”2
Three weeks after the attacks, “Hard Core” Rescoria was officially declared dead. Despite a storied career both in the military and private sectors, the lives lived by the nearly 3,000 people he led to safety on September 11 best describe his legacy. Few have risen to his level of self-sacrifice and heroism.
Ted Anderson, Jason Thomas, and Cyril “Hard Core” Rescoria are all heroes by any reckoning. They responded to an unspeakable tragedy by implementing the training and resolve they learned through their service.
They softened the blow of September 11, 2001 as stellar examples of why terror attacks cannot defeat our nation. Here, heroism identifies itself by willingly placing yourself in harm’s way to assist the powerless. It stands in stark contrast to the cowardly attempt by terrorists to overthrow the very core of what makes us Americans.
Putting yourself at personal risk to help another, rescuing the powerless, laying one’s life down for his brother, these actions can’t be taught. They must be modeled. The warrior ethos is not the stuff of classroom lectures; servicemembers cat on the battlefield in the midst of hardship.
Into that kind of scenario, Jesus Christ was born. He stepped into harm’s way to rescue the powerless. Most importantly, He laid down His life that we might find life, eternal life! The price of mankind’s rebellion left all of us defenseless on a brutal battlefield for our souls.
Christ was not willing to see anyone perish. He was not willing to allow the enemy of our souls to steal those God intended to redeem, so He took our place on a sin-stained cross and died to redeem us knowing full well, that some would fail to understand or appreciate His sacrifice.
To some, Jesus Christ seems somehow passive, meek, too holy to understand our pain. To those of us who sought His help, He is the rescuer. No one forced Christ into harm’s way He chose to lay down His life that we might discover life, eternal life through the forgiveness He made possible on the cross. His resurrection three days later, sealed our forgiveness and assures us that through Him, all things are possible!
War is hell. No doubt you’ve seen more carnage that anyone should ever have to bear. Fortunately, there are warriors who can lead you out of danger and into that place where you can find healing for your mind, heart, and soul.
The Warrior’s Journey exists to do whatever it takes to ensure that no one is left wounded and slowly dying from pain created through their warrior experiences. Men and women who have been there and done that stand ready to assist you in finding legitimate answers to the tough questions of life.
Like the survivors of September 11, wartime experiences forever change us. If you need help finding your way forward, ask God. He rewards those who honestly seek Him. Click the response button on this page and someone will connect with you to help you move forward out of harm’s way.
1, Caruso, David B (August 14, 2006). "Mystery 9/11 rescuer reveals himself". Yahoo! News. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22.