Brinks robbery memorial Monday in Nyack

By Steve Lieberman lohud.com

The Clarkstown Police Honor Guard presents the colors during the 31st annual Brinks robbery memorial ceremony in Nyack Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

The Clarkstown Police Honor Guard presents the colors during the 31st annual Brinks robbery memorial ceremony in Nyack Oct. 20, 2012. (Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

NYACK – Hundreds of people will stand shoulder to shoulder along the entrance to the New York state Thruway at 4 p.m. Monday to remember the two Nyack police officers and a Brinks guard killed 33 years ago.

The annual service surrounds the stone memorial and bronze plaque in a small pocket park honoring Sgt. Edward O’Grady, Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown and Peter Paige.

The officers were killed at a roadblock at 4 p.m Oct. 20, 1981, by a gang of self-proclaimed revolutionaries who jumped from the rear of a U-Haul truck. Nyack police Detective Arthur Keenan and Officer Brian Lennon were hurt.

The gunman had killed Paige less than 40 minutes earlier during the robbery of $1.6 million at the Nanuet Mall, where guard Joseph Trombino was wounded. Trombino would go on to survive the 1993 terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center and die in the September 11, 2001, attacks.

A task force of federal and local law enforcement tracked down dozens of gang members that made up the Black Liberation Army and former violent Weather Underground from the 1960s and 1970s.

Family members of O’Grady, Brown and Paige attend the annual ceremony. The service lasts less than an hour, closes the Thruway entrance and exit, and includes tributes, a police honor guard, a 21-gun rifle salute, pipes and drums and a hovering helicopter.

One year, granddaughters of Brown and Paige sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”

Monday’s keynote speaker is James Mellion, the first assistant district attorney for Rockland.

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