NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill presided over the annual Veterans Day Breakfast held at One Police Plaza. The event honors all of our NYPD personnel that serve our city and our country. The event featured guest speaker Captain Tom Morkan of the U.S. Coast Guard. Captain Morkan shared with the audience the history of the Coast Guard, including how its members have played a critical role in every U.S. armed conflict during its 226 year existence. Police Officer Michael Martinez, President of the American Legion Post 460, also spoke to the audience and recognized that each of the military branches have NYPD members as part of their ranks.
There ceremony also included acknowledgment of a massive American flag that was on display in the auditorium during the event. The flag was on display thanks to the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon. The group originally donated the flag to be displayed in “Warrior’s Way” — the entrance area to the largest military hospital in Afghanistan at Bagram Air Base. The large flag, now retired, was prominently displayed as it hung on the ceiling of the entrance-way where wounded and fallen military personnel enter the hospital.
It was this flag that our hero, Detective Joseph Lemm, was carried past after he was killed while serving our military in Afghanistan. Detective Lemm, of the Bronx Warrant Squad, was killed in a suicide attack on December 21, 2015 in Bagram, Afghanistan. Detective Lemm not only served New Yorkers as a member of this Department, but he also served his country as a member of the U.S. Air National Guard. Detective Lemm was a fifteen year veteran of the NYPD and was promoted to Detective in January of 2014, serving in the Bronx Warrant Squad. As a member of the NYPD, Detective Lemm was deployed three times, twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.
Alan Krutchkoff, President of the Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon, shared the following on the importance of having the flag displayed in NYPD headquarters, “This is a very sacred flag, it is a great honor to have it displayed here — especially in honor of Detective Lemm.”
More than 4,300 members of the NYPD have also served in our military. Below are some photos from today’s event and the Veterans Day parade that followed.