9/11 messages from LDS leaders offered comfort and peace

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 11 2012 10:00 a.m. MDT

"Rick was a very experienced ex-military combat leader. He was in his office when 'the first plane struck the North Tower at 8:48 a.m. … He took a call from the 71st floor reporting the fireball in One World Trade Center, and he immediately ordered an evacuation of all 2,700 employees in Building Two,' as well as 1,000 more in Building Five. Using his bullhorn, he moved up the floors, working through a bottleneck on the 44th and going as high as the 72nd, helping to evacuate the people from each floor. One friend who saw Rick reassuring people in the 10th-floor stairwell told him, 'Rick, you’ve got to get out, too.'

“'As soon as I make sure everyone else is out,' he replied.

“He was not rattled at all. He was putting the lives of his colleagues ahead of his own. He called headquarters to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

"His wife had watched the United Airlines jet go through his tower. After awhile, her phone rang. It was Rick.

“ ‘I don’t want you to cry,’ he said. ‘I have to evacuate my people now.’

“She kept sobbing.

“ ‘If something happens to me, I want you to know that you made my life.’

“'The phone went dead.' Rick did not make it out.

“Morgan Stanley lost only six of its 2,700 employees in the South Tower on Sept. 11, an isolated miracle amid the carnage. And company officials say Rescorla deserves most of the credit. He drew up the evacuation plan. He hustled his colleagues to safety. And then he apparently went back into the inferno to search for stragglers. He was the last man out of the South Tower after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and no one seems to doubt that he would’ve been again … if the skyscraper hadn’t collapsed on him first.

"Amid the great evil and carnage of Sept. 11, 2001, Rick was not looking for what might be in it for him; instead he was unselfishly thinking about others and the danger they were in. Rick Rescorla was the 'right man in the right place at the right time.' Rick, a 62-year-old mountain of a man, cooly (sacrificed) his life for others. As the Savior himself said, 'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'

"Most of us don’t demonstrate our unselfishness in such a dramatic way, but for each of us unselfishness can mean being the right person at the right time in the right place to render service. Almost every day brings opportunities to perform unselfish acts for others. Such acts are unlimited and can be as simple as a kind word, a helping hand, or a gracious smile.

"The Savior reminds us, 'He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.' One of life’s paradoxes is that a person who approaches everything with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude may acquire money, property and land, but in the end will lose the fulfillment and the happiness that a person enjoys who shares his talents and gifts generously with others."

President Monson, given in this October 2001 general conference address titled "Now is the Time":

"All of us have been dramatically affected by the tragic events of that fateful day, Sept. 11, 2001. Suddenly, without warning, devastating destruction left death in its wake and snuffed out the lives of enormous numbers of men, women and children. Evaporated were well-laid plans for pleasant futures. Substituted, therefore, were tears of sorrow and cries of pain from wounded souls.

"Countless are the reports we have heard during the past three and a half weeks of those who were touched in some way — either directly or indirectly — by the events of that day. I should like to share with you the comments of a church member, Rebecca Sindar, who was on a flight from Salt Lake City to Dallas on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11. The flight was interrupted, as were all flights in the air at the time of the tragedies, and the plane grounded in Amarillo, Texas.

"Sister Sindar reports: 'We all left the plane and found televisions in the airport, where we crowded around to see the broadcast of what had happened. People were lined up to call loved ones to assure them we were safely on the ground. I shall always remember the 12 or so missionaries who were on their way to the mission field on our flight. They made phone calls, and then we saw them huddled in a circle in a corner of the airport, kneeling in prayer together. How I wish I could have captured that moment to share with the mothers and fathers of those sweet young men as they saw the need for prayer right away.’ ”

Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, given in his October 2001 general conference address:

“Out of the deep anguish and turmoil of Sept. 11th have come many instances of men, women and nations standing tall. Foes and friends have come together against a common enemy. Uncommon acts of bravery have become commonplace. Humanitarian response seems to know no bounds. Men and women, regardless of race or creed, have reached out to victims and their families. Countless prayers have been offered. The forces for good are standing tall against the forces of terror and senseless mayhem.

"The life, ministry, and teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ, provide a template for introspective assessment. Jesus Christ is our perfect example of one who always stood tall. He is the one who personifies integrity, strength, and courage.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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