Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001 in The Rearview Mirror of Time.

September 11, 2001
Rick Rescorla, singing to the evacuees of WTC South Tower

1st Cavalry Division patch

Lt. Rick Rescorla, LZ Xray, 1965

2nd Lt. Mark Daily, Mosul, Iraq 2006

Major Robert Soltes, OD, USAR

The images seared into the minds of all who saw the events of this date continues to fade from the collective memory of many Americans as the years roll by and the toll of those who have given their lives in the long war that began that day, overtook the numbers that then, shocked the world. My small tribute to that day, links three men whose lives are connected to the yellow and black shield of the First Cavalry Division, America's First Team. This division's storied history reaches back through Vietnam, Korea and World War II to the middle years of the 19th century on the American Frontier. Our story begins with a man who saved thousands from sure death on September 11.

Cyril Richard Rescorla was Vice President of Security at Morgan-Stanley the largest tenant in the World Trade Center on that day. When the first plane struck, Rescorla implemented an evacuation plan and was able to get almost every employee from 44th to the 74th floors in the south tower out, before the next plane struck. After getting all his people out Rescorla headed back to help others escape. The tower fell and his body was never found. His story, is told better by his wife who dedicated this web site to his memory, Rick Rescorla.

Rescorla was no stranger to stepping up and doing his duty. His image graces the cover of the book, We were Soldiers Once...And Young by Harold Moore and Joe Galloway taken during the Battle of Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. Rescorla, wore that big yellow and black patch and led a company in the battle and also battle at LZ Albany, a day later.
This coming January 15, will be the third anniversary of the death of Lt. Mark Daily, a soldier in the 1st Cavalry Division, who was killed along with four others in a massive roadside bomb while on patrol in Iraq. I wrote about Lt. Daily last year, REFLECTION ON A NOBLE SOUL. His unit, the 2nd Battalion 7th Cavalry was the same unit Rescorla, came to support back in 1965.
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A couple of years ago, I needed to go get my eyes checked. Looking over the list provided by the insurance company I selected one, a Dr. Soltes and made an appointment. I was escorted into the exam room and awaited the doctor. The door opened and a women entered and introduced herself as Dr. Dang. As it turns out, Dr. Robert Soltes had been killed in Iraq while serving with the 426th Civil Affairs Battalion, an Army Reserve unit from California. Dr. Dang was his wife, and learning that I was a Vietnam Veteran, told me the story of Major Soltes, and how his father, also a Vietnam Veteran had served with the 1st Battalion 9th Cavalry of the 1st Cavalry Division as a gunship pilot. We ended talking for some time, and my soul was forever touched by learning about this man and his commitment to family and country.
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The link that these three souls share is to that black and gold shield, for two, it was membership, for the last, it was the link from a father, who instilled a sense of honor and service in his son. The First Team as they are called seems to have a special mojo for taking responsibility that infects those who have served in their ranks. It seems in the case of Dr. Soltes, to have been passed from father to son.

As the years turn to decades and the image seared into the mind of that day, begins to fade in the mist of time and the faces of Rick Rescorla, Mark Daily and Rob Soltes standing along side the long road that had led from that place, being to fade in our rearview mirror, I vow to never forget, and will always remember these men for their love for this country and their sense of duty and service.

The words that have come to haunt me, are the ones spoken by President George W. Bush when he told the American people in his famous speech after September 11, that the losses from combat in this new war would be less than those lost in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. How wrong was his vision, and how many more will fall before the inevitable next attack comes. The only sure thing is that in the future, other's will step forward to serve their fellow citizens and in doing so will forfeit their lives.


Agha H Amin said...

a landmark event which changed world history,changed the whole concept of security,acted as a spur for the USA to abandon the policy of strategic withdrawal that it wanted to follow after the cold war.

HISTORYGUY99 said...

Well stated Agha.