New Jersey man to be posthumously honored for saving lives on 9/11

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A New Jersey man will posthumously be honored with the Presidential Citizens Medal for sacrificing his life to save others during the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Rick Rescorla was working as the director of security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Rescorla helped to get 2,700 people to safety after a plane struck the tower in the attack. He lost his life so that he could save others.

“I feel we have to honor his choice,” says Rescorla’s daughter Kim Rescorla.

Rescorla’s family says that they were told that he did make it to the ground with one of the first waves of evacuated employees. But they say that he did not stay outside very long. Instead, he went into the North Tower to help evacuate.

A photo taken of Rescorla shows him using a bullhorn to help direct people out of the building. The family says that it was in Rescorla’s nature to help people. He also helped to evacuate people during the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing.

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In the 2001 attack, despite a message on the intercom system telling people to stay in place, Rescorla forced Morgan Stanley employees to leave their desks and evacuate.

Rescorla was originally from England. He came to the United States, enlisted in the military and served in Vietnam. He then went to law school, became an attorney and then eventually took a security position with Morgan Stanley.

For the last two years of his life he was married to Susan Rescorla and lived in Morristown.

Susan says that one of Rescorla’s favorite spots in New Jersey is the Raptor Trust in Millington. A plaque and flag in Rescorla’s honor sit outside a habitat holding two wounded bald eagles.

"It's a peaceful place for me to come. I sit here and watch the people read the plaque and then I say, ‘Would you like me to tell you the story?’” Susan says.

Susan says that her husband loved the bald eagles.

“He said to me, ‘If something happens to me, I want you to memorialize this cage,’” she says.

Rescorla's remains were never recovered, so the Raptor Trust represents a cemetery to Susan. She comes every year on Sept. 11 to place a new wreath. The family says that they couldn't be prouder that Rescorla will receive an honor from the White House.

"It’s really highlighting the courage the determination and self-sacrifice,” says Kim Rescorla. In that way, the award is definitely an honor for us."

The family is expected to be invited to the White House sometime this fall to receive Rescorla's medal.

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