By Maria Rocha-Buschel
The NYPD gathered with community residents last Friday morning to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks and honor the officers of the 13th Precinct, Moira Smith and Robert Fazio, who lost their lives.
The ceremony began at 8:30 and there was a moment of silence held at 8:46 a.m., the time that the first plane flew into the North Tower at the World Trade Center.
Reverend Tom Pike, former rector of Calvary Church, gave an invocation for the memorial, first reflecting on the dedication of the men and women of service who were working that day.
“Someone here was telling me earlier that there were two things he would never forget,” Pike said. “One was walking down those stairs out of the tower. The second thing he said was, ‘I’ll never forget that I saw people walking up those same stairs, the men and women in uniform, and I’ll never forget those faces.’ We’ll never forget these people.”
Gramercy Park Block Association President Arlene Harrison, who organized support services at the 13th Precinct for a number of months following the tragedy, said that the community has a special relationship with the men and women in the command.
“This always brings us back to a sad time,” she said. “We took care of these guys for the next eight and a half months after it happened and the bonds we formed with them have remained.”
Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, who worked in the precinct where the World Trade Center is located right before coming to the 13th, said that he had only been on the job for three years as an officer in the 52nd precinct when the call came in that morning in 2001.
“I just remember getting the call early that morning to come into work and that it was serious,” said Timoney, now the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct. “We had to report to the 52nd beforehand but we were down (at the World Trade Center) every day helping with cleanup and force protection for the area for weeks afterwards.”
Miguel Ramos, who was a sergeant with the Emergency Service Unit at the time but has since retired, said that he wasn’t even supposed to be at work on September 11.
“I was actually off that day but when I heard, I just came in,” he said. “It was automatic.”
Patrick Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, was also at the ceremony and praised the officers’ work.
“Much has changed since that day but one thing that hasn’t is the dedication of the men and women in the NYPD. Great men and women have given their lives many times, not just on September 11,” he said. “We might be quieter and a little down today, and that’s because we’re thinking of that day in 2001 and our friends who are no longer at our side. If that call came in today our response would be the same.”