By Rebecca Harshbarger New York Post
‘We pledge to never forget them’
Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg honored thirteen 9/11 first responders who passed away last year and two cops slain in the line of duty during a ceremony at One Police Plaza this morning.
As their somber families listened to a final roll call, the hero officers had their names added to the wall of NYPD service members who had died in the line of duty.
Kelly highlighted the lives of the first responders that passed away last year. Police Officer Bobby Ehmer, who worked in Queens in the 110th Precinct, helped out at Ground Zero as a cop, but also volunteered there in his free time as an EMT for St. Joseph’s Hospital.
“He spent countless hours at Ground Zero, both as an EMT and a police officer, making him an especially committed first responder,” said Kelly.
Kelly also spoke of Sgt. Harold Smith, who spent long days sifting through rubble from the Twin Towers at the Fresh Kills Landfill, and Det. Kevin Czartoryski, who worked in a makeshift morgue at Ground Zero.
“As we add their names to this memorial wall, we pledge to never forget them,” said Kelly. “Nor will we forget the sacrifice of their family members who supported them…we can never repay the debt we owe you.”
Bloomberg and Kelly honored the memory of Detective Peter Figoski, murdered in East New York last year, and Police Officer Alain Schaberger, who was slain in downtown Brooklyn. The names of thirteen other cops who died of injuries last year from 9-11 were also added.
Bloomberg spoke of the diversity of the different slain officers, but said they all had one thing in common. “Each of them, like many of you, swore a sacred oath of service. Each never swerved from fulfilling it,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Whatever the risks they faced, and each gave their lives to protecting the rest of us.”
Figoski’s daughters attended the ceremony, as well as his partner Detective Glenn Estrada.
“Words can’t describe it. I’m very emotional, choking up,” said Estrada. “I didn’t realize it was going to be so emotional. It is certainly is an honor to be on the wall.”