As I started researching this article, I suddenly screamed in anguish and anger. I almost completely stifled it, but I could not stop it from coming out. This is a RED Friday article. War was brought to Americans on September 11th, 2001. Firefighters, police, and plain US citizens found themselves deployed in a war on American soil.
There are two amazing, intertwined threads running through the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attack. One is the story of Americans who shone as heroes on that terrible day. The other is the story of God’s mercy even in the midst of death and horror.
Rick Rescorla, a Vietnam veteran, was the Director of Security for Morgan Stanley in the South Tower on 9/11. Read his story here. It’s a story of one man’s foresight and determination that saved 2,687 lives that day. That’s almost as many lives as were lost in New York that day!
When the first plane hit, the Port Authority announced over their PA system that everyone should remain at their desks. Rescorla refused to let Morgan Stanley employees comply. After most were out, Rick Rescorla, without regard for his own safety, went back into the building to make sure that every last one was out. He was still there when the building collapsed. Last seen on the tenth floor going up, his body was never found. “Shortly before the South Tower collapsed, Rick called his wife Susan. He told her ‘Stop crying. I have to get these people out safely. If something should happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You made my life.’ “
Rick Rescorla, American veteran, Hero, your life was not wasted! Your sacrifice was not in vain!
US Troops at Fallujah remembered Rick well:
Remember the civilian Heroes of United Airlines Flight 93? Their lives were interrupted by a tap on the shoulder from Death. Three of them responded not in fear, but in determined defiance of Death, and at the cost of their own lives, saved probably several thousand more lives. Here is an account published on September 17th, 2001. A grandson returning from the celebration of his aunt’s 100th birthday party. A woman returning from her grandmother’s funeral. An attorney preparing for a year of work in Bombay. A student who took Flight 93 instead of her scheduled flight so she could get home an hour earlier. Ordinary people, thirty-seven in all – thirty-seven on a plane that could seat 200! Heroes of Flight 93, your lives were not wasted! Your sacrifices were not in vain!
US Firefighters and Police Officers, heroes all, fallen but standing tall in our memories. May God avenge them fully! Going into a danger of unknown dimensions, wearing heavy firefighting gear, climbing flight after flight of stairs, losing radio contact the further they went, New York’s Firefighters challenged Death again.
” ‘We had a very strong sense we would lose firefighters and that we were in deep trouble”, FDNY Division Chief for Lower Manhattan Peter Hayden later told the commission. ‘But we had estimates of 25,000 to 50,000 civilians, and we had to try to rescue them.’ … The 9/11 FDNY deaths [343 killed] amounted to more than a third of the approximately 1,000 emergency personnel at the scene, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s final report on the World Trade Center attack …”
Some would say “they lost their gamble”, but there are millions of their fellow Americans who boldly declare that they won: there were more than 17,000 people in the north tower that day. 87 per cent of them were safely evacuated. Heroes of the Fire Department of New York, your lives were not wasted! Your sacrifices were not in vain!
To those who do evil: this is a lesson that there is a God and Savior who steps into even your most effective schemes and minimizes the deaths you are guilty of. He walks beside you all your life. He knows everything you do, every intention of your heart. He knows your thoughts and desires, and He keeps a record of them:
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.” (Revelation 20:12-13)
To those who blame God for evil: open your eyes! God is with us all the time, and He often, maybe always, acts to minimize the victories of evil. Open your eyes and see His action in minimizing evil! He’s always there, and He can be there for you even in your death, if you will approach Him before it happens: ” ‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as white as wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18)
To every one who has ears to hear: this is the ultimate testimony of 9/11: there is a God Who saves. He can and will save not just your physical life, but your eternal life also. Seek Him out now! No one knows what tomorrow holds. He made His sacrifice 2,000 years ago – the sacrifice of His uniquely-born Son on a Roman cross:
“… as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:14-17)
And may we never forget those who have given their lives since, and to all who have and are still serving in our Military, you have our immeasurable gratitude. Thank You.