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At work I was talking to a colleague about a story I'd read, a piece on a man who perished in the towers. He was the solider on the front of the Vietnam history "We Were Soldiers." The piece has been going around the blogosphere, and even if I could find the link the site's bandwidth has been exceeded for a while so I'm not sure a link would be helpful today. Anyway. I'm relating the tale, how the man helped to evacuate everyone in his office, and cheered them with lusty old British war songs - and at that point I couldn't talk anymore. That was it. You make some gestures to indicate you've lost your handle for a moment; you turn away and get your grip. Didn't happen when you read the story; didn't happen when you thought about it the other day; but it's happening now.-- James Lileks, September 12, 2003
He's talking about this story, re-posted now for Memorial Day. It's a story that put Mudville on the blogosphere's map while briefly knocking us off the web.
It doesn't matter what you're doing right now. Stop. And go read this biography of Rick Rescorla, one of the greatest American heroes in our history. Rick Rescorla died on 9-11-01, but not as a victim, as a hero, who helped save the lives of 2600 people that day.As of now the story has 60 recorded trackbacks.
Mudville was a microscopic blip among blogs in September, 2003, rarely seeing 50 visits in a day. But I had another post planned for that day, one that I thought might attract a bit more attention, bring a few readers in who would visit and move on. I can't even remember what post that was. Likewise I can't recall when and where I'd first heard that the guy on the cover of We Were Soldiers had died in the World Trade Center, but I knew it was a story I wanted to share. But I wanted people to see it, so I hoped that by posting it at about the same time as that other story it might get a few more "eyes on" than it would otherwise.
Like I said, I don't even remember what that other story was.
I'd had another idea that late summer/early fall. There were a couple dozen military bloggers back then, some widely read, others lesser known than I was. I knew the total exceeded the sum of it's parts. So "what if...", I wondered, "we were all linked somehow..." still independent, but bonded. And offering encouragement and opportunity (and readers) for others who might take up the "pen" along with the sword.
But I was convinced Mudville was too small to make it happen. But then came that Rescorla post, and shortly thereafter I sent out some emails, asking something like "Hey, what do you guys think of this idea..."
So if it weren't for Rick Rescorla, there probably never would have been a MilBlogs Ring.
Thank you thank you for the tribute to my husband. Let us all never forget Rick or what happened to our world on that day. It takes much courage to face evil. You are all heros.I wasn't ready for that comment. I expected some from Rick's fellow Cav guys - Wallace Craig had told me he was going to spread the word, but this one hit me in much the same way the original post did James Lileks.
Posted by susan rescorla at September 9, 2003 11:02 AM
I sent Mrs Rescorla an email, and she replied. She's an incredible lady, and before long she had sent me a box full of autographed copies of the book Heart of a Soldier. Mrs G and I were in Germany at the time, living in a small village near Landstuhl medical center, where the wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq are sent for initial treatment. And before long those books were making it into the hands of wounded troops who were passing through.
Something he did ask me to blog about was CPT Jason Spencer, Chuck's XO. Because Chuck was wearing heavy Kevlar armor, he went bottoms up in the canal, and was drowning, Jason dove into the canal to save him, only to find himself in the same predicament as Chuck and almost drowning himself, but he managed to muscle himself upward to then help pull Chuck ashore. This man is a hero and Chuck wanted me to spread the word on this.Many people are.
The gurney arrived to transfer him to Walter Reed Medical, that was my cue that it was time for me to leave. He asked me if I had a camera, which unfortunately mine was dead, so the answer was "no". He wanted me to take his picture Note to self: always have camera charged. I did however, have for him a copy of "Heart of a Soldier", a book about a hero Rick Rescorla, autographed by Mrs Rescorla. Chuck was familiar with his story.
If there hadn't been a MilBlogs Ring, it's likely Chuck would have come home unknown to all but his family and friends. If there hadn't been a MilBlogs Ring the VALOUR-IT program might never have been launched. If it weren't for Rick Rescorla, there probably wouldn't be a MilBlogs Ring.
In spite of that, in some ways that story didn't accomplish one thing I'd hoped.
Listen to the man and then you can add your signature to an online petition calling on the President to award the Medal of Freedom to Rick Rescorla.You can still do that - and join the 30204 who have thus far. Maybe some day that medal will be awarded.
By April, 2006 the statue was unveiled.
This April 1, 2006 the unveiling of Rick's statue will take place at Ft. Benning, Ga. Eight feet tall, and the legacy will go on forever. Among my guests will be 300 Rolling Thunder bike riders who are rolling in from various states. How great is that?
Other folks attended, too
CSM Plumley, General Moore, and Joe Galloway:
I think this story will continue. In the meantime, Heart of a Soldier is still available.
As is the The Man Who Predicted 9/11 DVD