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Heroism Was the Theme of Collingdale Patriot Day Ceremony

From a press release

On Saturday, Collingdale had its Patriot Day, held at the Collingdale Community Center.  It was a tribute remembering all who died on Sept. 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93.

Collingdale Police Cpl. William Carter welcomed guests who attended and gave a speech about 9/11 and a tribute speech about the heroic sacrifice of Cyril Richard “Rick” Rescorla, of Newark, N.J.  Rescola was working at the World Trade Center that fateful day.

Rescola was working as vice president of security  at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Company, in the South Tower, of the World Trade Center.  When American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower, Rick reacted according to the training he had and the plans he developed following the 1993 terrorist on the World Trade Center.   Against the advice of officials, he ordered an immediate evacuation of all 2,700 Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. employees from the building and led them to safety.

After those employees evacuated, United Flight 175 hit the South Tower. Rescola then re-entered the building to search for survivors.  He was never seen again.  Due to Rescola’s heroic actions, more than 2,700 lives were saved that day.  The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Rick Rescorla is an inspiration and credit to the state of New Jersey and to his fellow Americans.

All but 13 of his staff survived the 9/11 attacks.

On March 25, 2009 Rick Rescorla was awarded the Above and Beyond Citizen Honor Award.  Living members of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society along with Rick’s children accepted his Honor on his behalf.

“As we remember and share stories of bravery, honor all those who died on September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and on United Airlines Flight 93.  Show support to all defenders of our freedom past, present , and future. This is our duty,” Carter said.

Collingdale Memorial with photo of Cyril Richard “Rick” Rescorla, and wreath presented in memory of 9/11. Insert photo: Cpl. William Carter, Collingdale Police Dept. and Jim Dawson president, of the 2nd Brigade Motorcycle club, of VFW Post 598, of Darby. (Photo courtesy of Joy Winner.)

“In the words of Rick Rescorla: ‘Today is a day to be proud to be an American.'” Carter said.

During the ceremony, Collingdale Mayor Donna Matteo-Spadea led the “Pledge of Allegiance” and Bill Burns, of the First Baptist Church of Collingdale, sang the National Anthem. And a “Never Forget 9/11” Wreath was placed, by Sgt. Patrick Kilroy at the Collingdale Memorial Site.

Tom Heckman played “Amazing Grace” on the bag pipes.

The Rev, Perry Messick of the First Baptist Church of Collingdale gave the closing prayer.

A  park bench honoring Anthony Alexander Jr. was unveiled by Anthony Alexander Sr. and Ava Alexander,  in memory of Alexander, Jr.

Alexander Jr. who was honored, with the Citizen Honors Award, for his heroism in saving three young children, who were in danger of drowning, in a pond, at the Collingdale Park on February 21, 2022, was remembered with a bench, unveiled at the ceremony.

His life was cut short by an accidental gunshot last January.  He was watching  an Eagles game with his friends and they were playing with a loaded gun, at a party.  Anthony passed away January 29, 2023.

The Alexander family will have a dedication of the bench, in the near future, at the Collingdale Park.


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ELUND: Killing of Al-Qaeda Leader Shouldn’t Obscure Some Hard Questions

In a society governed by the rule of law, capturing and trying the intellectual force behind the 9/11 terror attacks, Ayman al-Zarahiri, would have been ideal but it was very unlikely. So kudos to the U.S. intelligence community under President Biden for doing the detailed work needed to locate a single individual among the millions of people in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. 

Eleven years ago, in 2011, the same intelligence community, under President Barack Obama, found then al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden living in Pakistan near a base of the U.S.-allied Pakistani military. In that instance, the American military killed bin Laden with a Special Forces raid; this time, Zawahiri was killed by Hellfire missiles fired from a U.S. drone.

However, the usual fist-pumping and chest-beating triumphalism surrounding such counterterrorist killings will likely drown out any discussion of the larger questions about the excessively grandiose U.S. foreign policy that motivated al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks in the first place and continues in the attenuated form today. To their credit, presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden have indirectly raised questions about excessive interventions in the Middle East, which bin Laden, Zawahiri and al-Qaeda made very clear was their motivation for launching the 9/11 attacks and other successful strikes against American targets (for example, attacks against the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000).

The American people, not much on historical introspection, never have wanted to hear such “unpatriotic” talk, especially with their understandable desire for revenge in the aftermath of the catastrophic 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 American civilians. No excuse ever exists for such terrorism against innocents. But the U.S. government, after 9/11, should have at least privately taken notice of some of its own bumbling culpability for al-Qaeda’s potent retaliatory strike; and, after limited retaliation to quench a public thirst for retribution, brought a much lighter touch to the greater Middle East to reduce future motivation for Islamist radicals to strike U.S. targets.

Instead, then-President George W. Bush doubled down on the U.S. intervention in the Middle East that motivated al-Qaeda’s war on the United States in the first place. Instead of more limited retaliatory strikes against the al-Qaeda group, he chose to invade Afghanistan, take out the Taliban government, which was playing reluctant host to al-Qaeda, and then begin a long nation-building war that Biden ended two decades later. Even worse, Bush used public fear and furor over the 9/11 catastrophe to imply a false connection between al-Qaeda and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to carry out what seems to have been a personal vendetta against the Iraqi despot. 

The unneeded invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq turned into U.S. occupations that predictably drove more retaliatory Islamist terrorism, in those countries and worldwide. In Iraq, al-Qaeda’s resistance to the U.S. occupation morphed into the virulent Islamic State group, which eventually took over large parts of Iraq and Syria until it was beaten down by even further U.S. military intervention.

The two-decade Afghan invasion and nation-building war and the long Iraq invasion, occupation and reinvasion were unnecessary, costly (in lives and trillions of dollars), and counterproductive ways to fight terrorism.

The efforts by the United States over time to painstakingly find and kill terrorists with Special Forces raids and drone strikes show that Biden’s over-the-horizon approach to terrorism may not be ideal, but it is workable and is much less inflammatory to Islamist jihadists than costly and counterproductive quagmires on the ground in the greater Middle East.

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