POLICE Magazine

JUN 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1129771

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Page 112 of 124

110 POLICE JUNE 2019 BACK IN SEPTEMBER 2014 I wrote an article for POLICE ti- tled "e Forgotten Fallen of 9/11." In that column, I was critical of both the Public Safety Officers Benefit (PSOB) and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) for failing to recognize 9/11 toxin expo- sure fatalities as line-of-duty deaths. I withdrew that criti- cism in 2017 as both entities established protocols for hon- oring these heroes. is year during the National Police Week events, I felt both sad and elated to witness the tributes to the 9/11 first responders who succumbed to the lethal toxins released by the 2001 attacks. During the Candlelight Vigil, I was honored to sit on the dais as a Names Reader. As I stared out at the crowds, I clutched the booklet that contained the names of those he- roes who would be honored that evening. en I watched as some 30,000 people—officers, their families, survivors of the fallen, and police supporters—lit candles while the name of each fallen officer from the preceding year and officers who were discovered through research to have made the ultimate sacri- fice in prior years was read. rough the reading of each name, and the perfor- mance of each song, and from the sounds of the bagpipes and the bugle, our hearts were warmed as we remembered the fallen. Within the names booklet, the fallen were listed under the states where they served. Under the state of New York, there was an unusually long list of names. In fact, New York had more fallen officers listed than any other state. Many attendees and even law enforcement officials were shocked by the large number of New York names. My good friend Will Gross, superintendent of the Boston Po- lice Department, asked me if a lot of the names were attrib- uted to the 9/11 cases. I confirmed that they were, sharing that 87 of the names listed represented 9/11 heroes. Recog- nizing some of those names, my eyes teared up with both sadness and pride. Superintendent Gross, myself, and ev- eryone else on the dais shared the same thought: It's about time our forgotten 9/11 heroes were remembered. As the different law enforcement leaders stepped up to the microphone to read the name of each fallen New York hero, I stared at the bracelet I wear every day bear- ing the name of Sgt. Edward "Ned" ompson. Ned was one of the first 9/11 toxin exposure cases to be approved by NLEOMF as a duty death and to have his name inscribed on the sacred Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall. In 2017, Police Unity Tour legends Pat Montuore and Harry Phillips presented me with Ned's remembrance bracelet. Ned's fatal end of watch date of March 9, 2008, is engraved on the bracelet, along with his name and the Unity Tour's rose and shield symbol. If I could see his photo through the bracelet, I know he'd be smiling. We don't always get everything right the first time, but honor is an indomitable force that does find its way. In addition to the 87 9/11 toxic exposure fallen who were honored at this year's Candlelight Vigil, there are a total of 229 names of 9/11 heroes inscribed on the Memorial Wall. Sadly, that number will continue to increase as more 9/11 first responders fall victim to diseases associ- ated with sustained toxin exposure. We stand ready to honor all these heroes. As Chief Montuore (Ret.) and Sg t. Phillips (Ret.) repeatedly say to me, "We'll never run out of wall to honor our fallen 9/11 brot hers and sisters." During National Police Week, the PSOB also paid trib- ute to the 9/11 fallen by approving the 200th death claim. ere are 60 pending cases, and sadly more to follow with the passage of time. With the dedicated PSOB workforce, and the unrelenting advocacy of the national public safety organizations on the PSOB Working Group, we can be as- sured that no 9/11 hero will be forgotten. It is never too late to get it right, to honor, and to remem- ber. I am inspired by those who stayed the course to en- sure our fallen 9/11 heroes were ultimately honored. is year's Candlelight Vigil was a reckoning. As I sat on the dais with the attorney general of the United States and other law enforcement leaders on the night of May 13, 2019, I looked out over the candles burning brightly in the crowd and witnessed as the formerly forgotten fallen of 9/11 were dutifully remembered. The fallen 9/11 first responders who were exposed to deadly toxins and succumbed to disease are no longer forgotten. JON ADLER, PRESIDENT, FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ASSOCIATION FOUNDATION New York had more fallen heroes listed than any other state. POLICE WEEK VIGIL HONORS 9/11'S FALLEN T H E F E D E R A L V O I C E

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