This year marks the 18th anniversary of 9/11; attacks that targeted the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the offices of the Pentagon in Washington, DC.
Whilst unfortunately we cannot list every fallen hero here today, we would like to remember three law enforcement heroes in tribute to all who sacrificed their lives to serve others.
Officer John W Perry
The loss of the intelligent and brave John W Perry symbolizes the entire trajedy of 9/11. The only off-duty police officer who sacrificed his life, Officer Perry was filing his retirement papers to become a medical malpractice lawyer as he learned of the attacks. John sprinted the few blocks to help first responders and was last seen carrying a lady out of the South Tower as it collapsed just before 10am.
Officer Perry was a multi-talented hero of NYPD’s 40th Precinct: He was fluent in four languages, learning a fifth, and appearing as an extra in Woody Allen films. He was always motivated to help people, having also joined the New York State Guard, working as a social worker for troubled kids.
Officer Ronald Kloepfer
Ronny Kloepfer, sniper and leader of the Emergency Service Unit (ESU), was the founder, coach, and midfielder of the NYPD’s lacrosse team. Kloepfer, who previously played for Seewanaka High School and Adelphi University, managed to fit a job as a contractor on the side, in addition to being a devoted family man.
Officer Kloepfer served the New York City Police Department for 18 years. On the morning of September 11th, while assigned to ESU Truck7, Koepfer rushed into the burning World Trade Center towers to try to rescue the victims. He was posthumously awarded the NYPD’s Medal of Honor for his heroic actions and is survived by his wife and three children.
Officer James Nelson
Officer Nelson was a 16-year veteran of the Port Authority Police Department, and was also part of the rescue efforts of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. That day, he braved the black smoke, despite of his asthma, and later told a friend, “You have to do what you have to do…There were people inside.”
On 9/11, James lived up to his own words: “When I go out of this world, I want to know I made a difference.” After answering the call of duty shortly after 9am, he evacuated people from the 27th floor and then refused to leave the building with others still trapped inside. Officer Nelson was a true hero and is missed by his family and everyone who knew his generosity.
Officer Ramon Suarez
Officer Saurez was assigned to Transit District 4. On the morning of September 11th, Suarez and his fellow officer, Mark Ellis, ran from their station to assist rescue efforts at the WTC. He was last seen pulling a victim away from danger while reassuring her and other families that they were safe, before he then headed back inside. Officer Suarez would surely be proud of his daughter, Jillian, who just last year graduated from NYPD’s Police Academy.
Staff Sergeant Jerome Dominguez
Sergeant Dominguez was making his way upward in the WTC North Tower when it collapsed. He was a highly decorated officer of the 105 Security Police Force, a member of the elite Emergency Services Unit, and a member of the Air Force Reserves. Jerome served the NYPD for 14 years and was posthumously awarded the NYPD’S Medal of Honor.
Luis Bonaparte, ex-partner of Jerome in the 42nd Precinct, once shared these touching words: “When we used to go out to dine with our wives and my infant daughter Rosa Maria, and if we didn’t decide on a restaurant in the city then we went to one out on Long Island. I recall once so dearly, while we were waiting for a table he asked my wife if he could hold my daughter. When he held her he sang to her beautifully in Spanish the song of my daughter’s name “Rosa Maria.”