Bayside police cadet who died on 9/11 honored with street co-naming

By Liam La Guerre Queens Courier

Salman Hamdani is honored with a street co-naming of 204th Street in Bayside where he grew up. Photo by Liam La Guerre

Salman Hamdani is honored with a street co-naming of 204th Street in Bayside where he grew up. Photo by Liam La Guerre

When 23-year-old Muslim American Salman Hamdani, who was an NYPD cadet and EMT, heard about the 9/11 attacks, instead of going to work, he headed straight for the World Trade Center.

He lost his life trying to help people and for his sacrifice, Community Board 11 and Councilman Paul Vallone honored him by co-naming 204th Street in Bayside, where he grew up, as “Salman Hamdani Way” on Monday.

But his mother, Talat, believes it’s just the first step toward getting the recognition her son deserves after the injustice he received. Hamdani, who was born in Pakistan and immigrated to America as a toddler, was initially thought to be involved in the attacks, and still hasn’t been honored as a first responder on the 9/11 memorial.

“The City of New York needs to recognize him officially as a cadet when 9/11 happened, when he gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Talat said. “And the national 9/11 memorial cannot deny him his due place in history.”

Instead of being listed as a first responder, Hamdani’s name is on the memorial as a civilian killed in the attacks. His family believes this bias stems from his faith, but they insist he was an American in every way.

As a child, Hamdani watched cartoons on the Disney Channel, loved the Yankees, played football for Bayside High School, and was a truly dedicated Star Wars fan— so much so that “his licenses plate read, ‘young Jedi,’” Talat said.

“I asked him one day, what is Star Wars?” she recalled, and he replied, “Momma, you don’t know what Star Wars is, you’re not an American!”

Hamdani’s family is calling for Mayor Bill de Blasio to put his name on the first responders list to honor his memory.

“The fact is that he was a cadet,” Talat said. “He should be properly acknowledged.”

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