In 1990 I spent four weeks in training at Two World Trade Center in New York. Two World Trade Center was the retail headquarters for Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. During my stay I felt like a New Yorker. A few years later I had the privilege to manage a branch office for Morgan Stanley in Connecticut. As a manager, I traveled to the firm’s headquarters quite often for meetings and events.
The stock market was closed for the week following 9/11. About three or four us felt compelled to come into the office though we didn’t have anything to do. The lights in the branch remained off during the week and it was especially dark in our cashiering cage where we kept the wire machine. The wire machine was our only connection to the firm. The machine was loud when it came to life to print data. A few days after 9/11 the wire machine became more active as it printed the names of the firm’s survivors. As the employees who worked in the trade center checked in with their direct reports their names were sent to the wire machine. We would run to the cage when we heard the wire machine to scan the list of names looking for colleagues and friends.
My boss worked on the 66th floor of 2WTC. He was a grandfatherly type with an infectious laugh and a veteran of Wall Street. I talked to him a few weeks after 9/11 and I tried to hold back tears as he told me his story. He was in the building during the attack. As he went to his escape route the door was jammed due to the impact. Out of the blue, he told me, someone said to him, “follow me.” He doesn’t know who the gentleman was or where he came from and he never saw this person again. A guardian angel I’m sure. I’m thankful he and a number of my colleagues were able to walk out of the trade center on that horrific day.
A big reason for the survival of my boss and so many others at the firm was due to Mr. Rick Rescorla who was the head of corporate security at Morgan Stanley. His story was told by James B. Stewart in his book, The Heart of a Soldier. The story of Mr. Rescorla has also been made into a movie/documentary. Unfortunately, he did not survive.
It’s hard to imagine anything positive rising from the ashes as a result of the spineless attack but here are a few -
· The three firefighters hoisting the American flag at Ground Zero.
· First responders and our armed forces.
· President George Bush with his bullhorn talking to the crowd on top of a rubble heap.
· President George Bush’s opening pitch at Yankee Stadium.
· The cross formed by the iron beams.
· The National September 911 Memorial and Museum.
· The new One World Trade Center building.
Words can’t describe the pain and agony for the people who were at the trade center on that dreadful day. It’s a reminder how fragile and precious life can be so focus on your faith, family and friends.
Then, in that hour of deliverance, my heart spoke. Does not such a country, and such defenders of their country, deserve a song? ~ Francis Scott Key.
Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC. www.parrottwealth.com.
September 11, 2016