The Heart of a Woman and a Nation in Mourning

By Pat Stansbury (written for Nick Snider, published in Heart of a Woman by Susan Rescorla)

It was one of those rare opportunities in life in which your past brushes against your future in one tragic and surreal event that suspended the world in shock and disbelief.

September 11, 2001 the most horrifying day in our recent history, America under attack on our own soil. Since then, the stories of heroism and sacrifice abound. But one story rose above the rest as the dust and debris settled over the Manhattan horizon. As America mourned her loss, the shocking reality started to set in as we heard the stories and accounts of the scope of intent that our enemy had in store for the greatest nation in the world.

Not even the best writers in Hollywood could have imagined the magnitude that an incident like this would ripple through our future changing life as we knew it as a free nation. As well as the unbridled heroism that abides in the American spirit.
We all have our memories of where we were and what we were doing as we watched in horror that second plane explode into the second tower, and in our hearts.

The stories of Rick Rescorla slowing arose above so many others, as we learned of his personal sacrifice to save so many others. We would have lost about 6000 souls that day in New York alone, if it weren’t for his self-less and deliberate actions. Methodically he filed out thousands of stunned employees of the South Tower as he systematically made his final phone calls to his best friend Dan Hill, and his beloved wife Susan.

His history is an epic story that spans 2 continents. Mine is a humble story that spans over 3 decades from the time I was a classmate of Rick’s at Fort Benning’s Officer’s Candidate School, Class of 1965, to the time I watched in horror as the second tower collapsed with him inside.

I met Susan Rescorla after inviting her to speak at the unveiling of an exhibit our class sponsored in Rick’s honor, at the National Museum of Patriotism. Susan continues to carry the torch of love and fans the flame of his memory as she marches across America with her personal accounts of his life and heroism. Stories America needs to remember.

Susan’s plight is a challenging one, and one I intend to help her achieve. Her story, as you will learn in reading this book, is sure to tug at your heart too. The story of a woman who rose above her own personal hell as she struggled to come to terms with the loss of the only love she ever knew. She tells of how she works to rebuild a life that she could barely comprehend. She too, rose from the ashes of her personal hopes and dreams, never able to even bury Rick’s body and have that sense of closure most of us expect when we lose a loved one.  Her efforts to keep his memory alive are not in vain. Her work to preserve a piece of American history for the benefit of strengthening the resolve of a grateful nation, are nothing less than heroic in her own right. As the founder of the National Museum of Patriotism, now the National Foundation of Patriotism, I know how powerfully this history will impact the hearts and minds of our nation’s future heroes. I intend to help her in her important journey. I encourage all who read this book to help and support her too.