President Donald Trump awarded a posthumous Presidential Citizens Award Medal on Thursday to the family of retired Army Col. Rick Rescorla, a Vietnam veteran who was credited with saving thousands of people during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attafks.
The Presidential Citizens Medal is the second-highest civilian award after the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“On behalf of the entire nation, I pledge we will forever and ever memorialize this American hero,” the president said.
Rescorla, who was born in the U.K., was the director of security for Morgan Stanley, which was headquartered in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
After a 1993 bombing attack on the Trade Center, Rescorla designed and implemented evacuation drills to prepare employees working in the towers for another attack.
After the first hijacked aircraft struck one of the towers on 9/11, Rescorla ordered all Morgan Stanley employees to immediately evacuate the South Tower and ignore announcements by building officials to remain at their desks.
The last he was seen, Rescorla was climbing stars on the 10th floor of the South Tower before it collapsed after being struck.
He was given credit for saving some 2,700 people that day. He was 62 when he was killed.
“Of all the accolades . . . and all the people along the journey who have touched my life, each is so memorable because I was able to learn more about this incredible man than I had during our short time while he was here on earth,” his wife Susan said Thursday.