NYPD and 9/11

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Thu 14 Jul 2011 14:11
NYPD Memorial and 9/11 Reminder 










We decided to begin our wander around the museum on the top floor. One half was dedicated to fallen NYPD officers who have lost their lives carrying out their daily work; beginning with Officer Thomas Lynch in 1849. We picked the first officer and randomly picked another three from different areas.   






The other end of this floor is dedicated to the police officers who lost their lives in the 9-11 attack on the Twin Towers. This September sees the 10th anniversary and since we have been in New York we have frequently heard mention of the event, the memorial garden, the building of Freedom Tower and some personal stories of people who lost a friend or family member. As we drove past Wall Street on our down town bus tour our guide told of his loss.


The first thing we saw was a film showing on split screens in the far corner. Very striking. The lady in the first column was the emergency service telephonist who took th efirst call that morning. She said a lady rang and immediately told her not to hang up and that she was not making a crank call. "Which service do you need ma'am". "A plane has just crashed into one of the twin towers". That got us thinking about the day itself and where we were when we heard. Bear was in surgery as the news filtered through from patients and then staff. I was driving back from Paignton, Miffy's 14th birthday cake on the back seat, listening to the "Steve Wright in the Afternoon" show. He announced that something had happened in New York and he would find out more and let us know after the next record. The first reports were sketchy and we assumed a tragic accident had happened until the second plane hit. As we all arrived home that day we sat glued to the television; some time later we tried to have a birthday tea, Miffy said we should postpone his birthday until the next day so we could all go back to watching as the events of the day unfolded. It was all we could do to feel as if we were showing some kind of support. 


At 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the World Trade Center's North Tower, followed by United Airlines Flight 175, which hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. The south tower (2 WTC) fell at approximately 9:59 a.m., after burning for 56 minutes in a fire caused by the impact of United Airlines Flight 175. The north tower (1 WTC) collapsed at 10:28 a.m., after burning for approximately 102 minutes. When the north tower collapsed, debris fell on the nearby 7 World Trade Center building (7 WTC) damaging it and starting fires. These fires burned for hours and compromised the building's structural integrity, which led to the crumbling of the east penthouse at 5:20 p.m. and to the complete collapse of the building at 5:21 p.m or 10:21 p.m. our time.




The display brought home details we had not ever considered, the fact that the intense heat had turned concrete into molten lava and glass had melted in minutes. The information on the blue card reads:

Destruction. The days and weeks following September 11, 2001, for many, was overwhelming. It was difficult to watch television, read a newspaper, or gaze at Manhattan’s altered skyline. The photos and video shown from Ground Zero made it inconceivable to think that there was anything left, but amazingly remnants of the World Trade Center, patrol cars, and equipment survived the devastating collapse. It was through the dedicated recovery operations at the World Trade Center site and Fresh Kills landfill, where debris from the site was transported, that these and thousands of other items were recovered.  







A work cap, all that is left of a police car radio. A piece of rock, not exceptional - it has been formed from one of the buildings, more extraordinary is the bit sticking up is a gun casing. Next to it is a siren pack.


This siren pack from police car 1672 is from Ground Zero and was recovered at Fresh Kills landfill. It helps demonstrate how the NYPD responded from all over the city on September 11, 2001. Car 1672 belonged to the 62nd Precinct, which covers Bensonhurst in Brooklyn. We are beginning to get the feel of the brotherhood that prevailed that terrible day. 





During the search and rescue operation, police officers gathered remnants of NYPD property strewn amidst the wreckage. Finding such familiar objects in such unfathomable devastation provided hope that all was not lost. Every item in the pile was potential evidence or a form of identification of victims. More than 130 police cars had been crushed, but even their most inconsequential, intimate parts held the promise of life. Nothing could be discarded. In just 102 minutes on the morning of September 11, 2001, terrorists reduced the 110-story Twin Towers to a mound of smoldering wreckage ten stories high, The world stared in shock at the remains of a site that for 31 years glimmered on Manhattan’s skyline, and mourned those who were lost that day. The flag now more than ever represented American strength, freedom, and unity. 




Two days after the terrorist attacks this solitary steel cross was found protruding from the destruction at Six World Trade Centrr. Construction workers pulled the steel crossbeam from the debris and mounted it as a shrine, where it remained near ground Zero throughout the recovery efforts. The sight of it gave many recovery workers a sense of meaning to their somber work. It continues to stand near the site as a potent symbol of survival. Thermal image showing the intense heat on the 20th of September through to the 23rd.



The label reads: Unified Force. The men and women of law enforcement agencies throughout the city suffered staggering losses on September 11, 2001. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten. The terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 37 Port Authority Police Department officers and commanders, the largest loss of life by a police department on a single day in U.S. history.


The next area had an electronic picture frame that showed each of the officers that had lost their lives. Very personal, very touching and so very sad.








Here are just some of the many tragic losses 




Each of them was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.






The information card read: Heroes to the end. The heroic actions of the 23 police officers who perished on September 11, 2001, are best demonstrated in these three miraculous photos. Not all of the 23 fallen officers were captured on film performing their duties amid such horrific conditions. But these three images of Police Officer Moira A. Smith, Police Officer Robert Fazio (also above with his family), and Police Officer Ramon Suarez will forever remind the world of the selfless sacrifice of all NYPD officers. They carried civilians to safety. They found emergency care for the injured. They comforted the suffering at their time of greatest need. They saved the lives of thousands. They will never be forgotten.






These work items struck us the most, an officers work belt, bits and pieces, but also a family picture held in the very same red plastic view box that most of us have had at one time or another; the one you hold up to your eye to see the picture so much larger than it actually is. The one straight and one bent number 13 from her shirt. The other thing that brought a lump to the throat was Officer Smith's name, shield and citation bars. She had a memorial bar to a fallen colleague Officer Anthony Sanchez. Moira was a decorated officer but her bars are too damaged to be able to see what she had been awarded for.

All the label said below was: Leather Gun Belt with Holster and Attachments, Shield with Citation Bars and Name Plate, Handcuffs and Keys. Police Officer Moira A. Smith, 13th Precinct. On loan from the family.

We stood and looked at these items for quite a time before moving on....................


We now had many questions, later, time to research. Twenty-three members of the NYPD were killed on the 11th of September 2001. Since then, 38 officers and one civilian have been recognised as having died of illnesses developed after work they performed at the World Trade Center site and Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, where debris from the destruction was received and processed.


The Fresh Kills Landfill - I thought what a terrible name - however, Kill is derived from an old Dutch word meaning stream, brook or channel. Fresh Kills, specifically, appeared as a place name by 1750 - was a 2,200 acre landfill in the New York City borough of Staten Island. The name comes from the landfill's location along the banks of the Fresh Kills estuary in western Staten Island. The landfill was opened in 1947 as a temporary landfill, but eventually became New York City's principal landfill in the second half of the 20th century, and it was once the largest landfill in the world.


After the 9/11, Fresh Kills was temporarily in use as a sorting ground for roughly one third of the rubble from Ground Zero. More than 1,600 personal effects were retrieved during this time. About two million tons of material obtained from Ground Zero was taken to the landfill for sorting. Thousands of detectives and forensic evidence specialists worked for over 1.7 million hours at Fresh Kills Landfill to try to recover remnants of the people killed in the attacks. The final count of 4,257 human remains were recovered and from those, 300 people were identified. A memorial is being built to honour those that were not able to be identified in all of the debris from the attack. 



In October 2009, reclamation of the site began on a multi-phase, 30 year, site development for reuse as Fresh Kills Park. The park will be three times the size of Central Park. It will consist of a variety of public spaces and facilities for a multitude of activity types. The site is large enough to support many sports and programs including nature trails, horseback riding, mountain biking, community events, outdoor dining, sports fields and canoeing. The West Park will be finished last and will include a 9/11 memorial.


The Twin Towers before, during and after