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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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Collingdale Hero Anthony Alexander Jr. Honored With Bench, Plaque and Painting

Anthony Alexander Jr. was 16 when he rescued two children who fell into icy water in a Collingdale Park pond on Feb. 21, 2022.

Alexander was lauded as a hero. But his life was cut short by an accidental gunshot last January. He was watching an Eagles game with his friends playing with a loaded gun at a party.

But Alexander will not be forgotten.

An event is planned for 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 9 at Collingdale Park near the pond where he saved the children from drowning. A bench and plaque will be dedicated in his honor. By all accounts, Alexander was a modest young man who wanted to join the Marine Corps after high school.

After rescuing the children, his grandmother said he told her, “I was just glad I was there.”

New York-based artist Steve Alpert met Anthony Alexander Sr. and his wife Ava at a dinner in Washington, D.C., in March, where Anthony Jr. was posthumously presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Young Hero award. After watching a video about Anthony Jr., Alpert felt compelled to paint his portrait and spoke to the Alexanders.



“All of a sudden, I realized Anthony was not there,” said Alpert. “His parents were on the stage accepting the award, and Anthony was killed on January 29.”

Alpert approached the couple and said he was an artist and would like to make a portrait of their son and gave them his card. About a week later, Alexander called him and sent him some photos.

It took a while for Alpert, who works in oil on canvas, to begin painting. He has some other projects underway.

“And I really wanted to think about it because it was such a powerful story,” said Alpert. “This young, heroic man, a young fellow, had his life cut short. He was going to join the Marines when he left high school.”

“Apparently, he was a very popular fellow and had leadership qualities, and he was a wonderful guy,” said Alpert. “And, you know, it exemplifies the ‘only the good die young’ thing.”

“So I thought about the painting for two months,” he said. “And then I got it, and I had a really clear idea of what I wanted to do, and it happened very quickly because I did all the mental preparation,” said Alpert.

When he showed the picture to some friends, one of them suggested that he have a T-shirt made with the image with money going to a gun reform organization.

Another friend suggested the Sandy Hook Promise group.

Alpert’s brother-in-law, Pastor Bill Devlin, helped Alexander set up a charitable corporation to hold the money from selling the T-shirts until it is donated. A graphic designer and a T-shirt printer have donated their services.

“So, even though he is no longer with us, Anthony can still help people,” said Alpert.

Cynthia “Chintz” Bell-Bucha, Alpert’s representative, said Alpert has raised “hundreds of thousands of dollars” with his artwork for various causes over the years.

On his website, Alpert said, “These are paintings I feel compelled to make to raise consciousness about men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. These paintings have also created welcome opportunities for me to give back—through donations of my artwork. I have been able to directly support causes that aid the men and women of our military and their families, including the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation and Fisher House Foundation.”

Alpert has been nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for its 2024 Distinguished Citizen Award for all his philanthropic work, said Bell-Bucha. The award goes to people whose lives have made a difference. Her husband, Paul “Buddy” Bucha, was a recipient for his actions while serving as an Army Ranger in Vietnam.

“He’s not going to make any money off (the T-shirt),” she said. “Nor would he want to.”

The proceeds will go to Sandy Hook Promise, a gun control nonprofit founded after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting.

“I think it’s important for people to know (that) there are really artists out there that are social activists and like to make sure their art serves a purpose,” she said.

The T-shirts with Anthony Alexander Jr.’s portrait will be available for sale at the Sept. 9 event, which Alpert and Bell-Bucha also plan to attend.

And the portrait’s title? “Unfinished”–just like Anthony Alexander Jr.’s life.

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