MANZOOR HUSSAIN ( November 9, 2021)
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Everyone, I hope we all had a moment to see in the presentation of those beautiful flowers, something that makes this department so great. We heard literally the whole world called out. People who come from every corner of the Earth, their families before them to join in this city and this country. And then families who sent forth their best to become members of the NYPD. And every time I’m here, I’m moved by it. Because it reminds us of how good the people are, who made that choice to join this department. And it gives me even in the moment when we’re mourning those we’ve lost, it gives me a hope that there is that goodness in the world. Today, we have a somber responsibility, all of us. And one we do with a whole heart, we honor those that we lost in 2019. And I know the families miss them deeply, but I also know the families are proud of what they did in their time among us.
This Memorial Wall, it’s striking to imagine names going back as far as 1849. Every single one of them, someone who saved lives, who made possible a peaceful society, who put themselves forward. Now we add names to this wall that we will honor, including two who died in the line of duty, who the whole city mourns. And we’ve come to know their amazing stories, Detective Brian Simonsen and Detective Brian Mulkeen. For all of us who are civilians in those moments, when we lose one of the heroes, we get a small glimpse into their lives. And I have seen every single time, literally every single time an extraordinary person was lost. Someone who made a decision to serve others. And was willing to go out there with everything they had. And so many times the stories go back, even to childhood, that you could see in that young man or a woman that desire to do something great, to do something noble, to do something extraordinary. And then they did by joining the greatest police force on Earth in the greatest city on Earth. And they made the city better.
All of whom we lost, including the particular tragedy of those we lost from 9/11 related diseases, all of them were willing to do something that most people couldn’t, just couldn’t. All of them had a greatness in them. And we think back to one of the most moving statements ever made in our country’s history, when President Lincoln spoke about those lost in the Civil War and spoke of them giving that last full measure of devotion. That’s what the men and women we honored today did. They gave their all. And they must be remembered because they remind us of what needs to be. And they remind us that we have to stand by these families. And I want to just thank everyone in the NYPD for the kindness, the solidarity, the warmth that you always show to the family members, always. It is something that, again, most of us who are civilians would not have understood it until we saw it. But it is powerful and beautiful even in the midst of the pain. The men and women of this department never forget. And to all the family members, we will stand with you and honor you and thank you. And we don’t feel, and we can never feel the full pain that you feel, but we can express our devotion to you. And that’s what this department always does. Thank you. And God bless you all.
Sergeant Kevin Heavey, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. It’s now my pleasure to introduce the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, the honorable Dermot Shea.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: Good morning, everyone. We’re here today to post 42 names on the Wall Of Heroes. 42 men and women that were taken from us far too soon. They were your loved ones. They were your brothers, your sisters, our friends, your sons, your daughters, your husbands. Their common bond is that they laid down their life for us. It’s exactly what they did. As I’m sitting here and looking out at your faces and you start to think, I wish there were words to say that could ease your pain. But there is not. And I think we all know that. I will tell you that many years ago, Rabbi Kass, where are you? You said the Police Plaza is a cathedral. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I think you’re right. The end of the day, it’s hustle and bustle. People leaving the elevators. You’re always waiting too long. People coming, people going for a number of reasons. Sometimes we probably walk too quickly through this lobby. I will tell you that many years ago, as I’m now on the other side of 30 years with this department, I chose to work my vocation in One Police Plaza, make some extra money, probably 25 years ago or more. And I found myself in this building on a midnight tour. It’s a very different place on a midnight. And it’s a skeleton crew of police officers. And you’d have one manning the gates and different assignments, but it’s quiet.
And I found myself in this lobby when the lights are dimmer and there’s no one walking around. And you have the chance to really appreciate what’s on those walls. And you’ll look up. And if you look, it’s not the most beautiful building, it never was. It’s a little dingy, you could even say. We shined up the floors today, but you have to really get close to squint to see the names on the bronze and the fade. But you can feel it when you do. You really can feel it. And as I could see it when I was sitting there, you look through and you could see the Trade Center as well. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m at the Trade Center. I don’t like to go there too often. But when you’re there and it’s quiet, we’ll just leave the tourists. We like the tourists, but not for this. And you can feel it there too.
We talk about never forgetting. We could never forget. It’s not in our DNA. So, you should know that as you sit here today, your loved ones will always be honored by this department for what they mean, for what they’ve done to this city. The city would be a far different place without the names on those walls. And we honor that every day when we go out there. And whether we put a suit on if you are a detective or you put a gun belt on, or if you’re a civilian member of this department, they know what’s on those walls. We think about it every time we drive down a block in New York City. We couldn’t forget it if we wanted to. And believe me, sometimes we want to forget, but we can’t. I can’t drive by a hospital without thinking of your loved ones. I can’t drive down a block without remembering the sacrifice of what changed that block. So, to everyone here today, God bless you all. We will never forget the sacrifice that your loved ones made. God bless you all. And God bless the NYPD.