Trump Presents the Presidential Citizens Medal –


[Music] ladies and gentlemen the President of the United States [Music] thank you very much please thank you great to be with you and thank you all for being here today it’s my honor to present an award reserved for those who perform exemplary deeds or acts service for this great nation and its citizens the presidential citizens medal and it’s a big deal this evening we come together to pay tribute to a fallen hero who devoted his life to defending freedom and who made the supreme sacrifice to save others on September 11th 2001 Colonel Richard risk werlla Richard was a great gentleman he’s looking down proudly on this wonderful family and congratulations it’s a big there’s a big evening and it’s great to have you at the White House cause there’s no place like it thank you [Music] we’re profoundly grateful to have with us Rick’s beloved family please join me in welcoming his wife Susan Thank You Susan his son Trevor and his daughter Kim thank you thank you thank you and to each of you we cannot fathom all that you have endured but today we express the gratitude of 329 million Americans it’s a lot of people Rick was born in Cornwall England in 1939 as a boy he met American soldiers preparing for the Normandy landing and dreamed of one day serving in uniform it’s a big thing for Rick soon he had his chance and joined the British Army he spent six years fighting communism then flew to America found the recruiting center in Times Square and joined the United States Army he wanted to continue his fight against communists in 1965 Rick deployed to Vietnam as a platoon leader he fought in the Battle of yad Drang Valley facing overwhelming odds Rick helped to beat back hundreds and hundreds of enemy soldiers his commander General Hal Moore who was a great general by the way said Rick was quote an extraordinary battlefield leader quite simply the best platoon leader of infantry I have ever known in two wars he saw plenty of action for his actions in Vietnam Rick received two Bronze Stars a Silver Star the Purple Heart and the Vietnamese Cross of gallantry we are thankful to be joined today by 60 soldiers who fought in Vietnam with Rick including six veterans who just returned from yard rang on a trip to honor him would you all please stand it’s great to have you thank you whoa [Applause] [Music] that’s pretty good well it’s good and you’re all looking good you’re looking good that’s great that’s really fair do I see a Medal of Honor winner in our midst oh that’s great stand up please [Applause] [Music] and I know I’m all congratulations thank you for being here very nice you’ve earned our everlasting gratitude when Rick came home to America he received a bachelor’s of master’s degree in literature and earned a law degree in Oklahoma he taught at the University of South Carolina but soon realized he would not be happy until he was protecting others that’s what he liked to do protect others he was born to serve in 1984 Rick became director of security for Dean Witter securities which soon moved to the World Trade Center South Tower Rick was there in 1993 when terrorists detonated a 1200 pound bomb in the World Trade Centers garage in the midst of danger and confusion Rick climbed on top of a desk took command and directed the evacuation helped a lot of people that was a rough time after that bombing Rick analyzed threats outlined potential attacks and told building officials that the next assault on the towers could come from the air he understood what was happening he did everything he could to prepare for the worst in 1997 dean witter merged with morgan stanley and rick was promoted to executive vice president of security for the largest tenant in the entire world trade center in 1998 he met Susan and they married within a year that was good right they were both happy they were both very happy I was a good move for both on Tuesday September 11th 2001 Rick got up early put on his blue pinstripe suit and just before he left his home in Morristown New Jersey he kissed Susan and told her I’ve never felt better in my life I love you so very nice it’s very nice Rick arrived in his office before 7:30 a.m. a little more than an hour later he heard an explosion and looked out the window to see the North Tower consumed by flames bullhorn and hand Rick told everyone to ignore the PA system that was instructing them to remain at their desks he directed them to start marching down the stairs to buy to get out and start marching just do it and they had practiced before because of him they had practiced before Rick ran up and down over 20 floors telling employees to keep moving keep moving get out keep moving many recall him saying today is a day to be trap proud to be an American tomorrow the world will be looking at you at 9:03 a.m. a plane crashed into now the South Tower as terrified victims ran to escape the suffocating fumes Rick remained calm and resolute in his mission when others told Rick to run to safety he responded as soon as I’ve got everybody in this building out the South Tower collapsed while Rick was still inside through his extraordinary actions he helped save 2,700 lives that night those 2,700 people went home to their loved ones in the 18 years since they have raised families set their children to college walk their sons and daughters down the aisle held their grandchildren thanks in great measure to one extraordinary American here with us today are 12 brave first responders of 9/11 along with five veterans who fought in the war on terror and very very successfully fought please stand please [Music] thank you thank you both thank you thank you very much great respect I know the city will fantastic job Rick’s entire life paints a beautiful picture of selfless service and his legacy adores monuments and Gardens have been built in his honor a passenger train in England has been named after him and they just gave me the most beautiful model of that train and it’ll be in the Oval Office and poems and books and even an opera had been written to memorialize his story no one has done more to preserve Rick’s memory than his wife Susan after 9/11 Susan travelled the country and told of Rick’s courage Rick used to stay and say that Susan’s spirit could lift him up in just a minute Susan you have really helped to lift up an entire nation and we want to really thank you and you have been so incredible and this evening is a very special one this is a very special house it’s a very special home and it’s a very special country so – Susan Trevor Kim and every one of Rick’s family members who are here our debt to you is beyond measure we can never reverse the horrors of that day we can never replace the precious lives we lost but on behalf of our entire nation I pledge that we will forever and always remember this incredible American hero Colonel Rick Rescorla we will never ever forget now it is my privilege to ask Susan to join me on stage to accept the presidential citizens medal on behalf of her great husband [Music] would the military aid please come forward and read the citation Richard Cyril Rescorla at the cost of his own richard briscola helped save the lives of nearly 2700 people at the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11 2001 in the midst of the attack on the twin towers were scored advised to shelter people in place instead aided their efforts to escape to safety he did not however join the evacuation he continued working to save lives until the tower collapsed killing him and hundreds more the United States is proud to honor Rick Rescorla whose valiant and selfish sacrifice for his fellow Americans on one of our nation’s darkest days will never be forgotten [Applause] good evening president Trump and all of you this day of November the seventh in the year of our Lord 2019 and thank you so much for meeting with Rick’s family and I so privately before the ceremony today is a day to honor a proud American 18 years is a long time and I thank our president for honoring Rick with the presidential citizen medal I had asked myself and why now because this was to be it’s all about the journey which has revealed so much more of all the accolades all the tributes both here and in the United Kingdom 60 or more over the years and each one so unique and all of 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 and death than in the short time we had together on earth thank God we were blessed by a deeply meaningful time together mr. president we have about 200 people here who are all great women and men and I will be honoring them at the gala event at the Plaza Hotel this evening I know Rick would have wanted them all to be here today and we both salute you all and now on this incredible day we are gathered here at our White House with the President of the United States Donald Trump in the country we love with the flag we salute with so much respect and looking out on you all each one of you is so special on that fatal day September 11 2001 Rick was seen fiercely hurting the people out of the building and then he and his three men followed the fireman going further up into the South Tower there’s even a recorder of them talking to one another leave no man behind was the core of the seventh Cavalry and I know Rick was thinking about his men in those final moments the days after 9/11 so many people called me and asked me did Rick make it out or to tell me what Rick was saying to them as he was bringing them out of the building to safety he was some singing Cornish songs and sometimes they even whispering in their ears get the hell out just just leave get get out but but but the and and it was I gonna say today is a day to be proud to be an American because the world is still looking at us and all of you here have contributed to keeping Rick’s work and story alive so it will be in the forefront of the American memory but before I say Mike the last statement I would like to tell you something about what Rick said to me on our first date he said to me what are you about and I said what do you mean Rick and he said well when I was a very young man I declared what I wanted to be and I knew that if I stayed on that path that at the end of my life that I would have done the very best that I could and that’s exactly what Rick did Thank You mr. president and god bless america [Applause] ladies and gentlemen please remain in your seats as the president departs dais room [Music] you [Music]

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