Remarks, as delivered, of Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill
NYPD Memorial Day Ceremony
One Police Plaza
Friday, May 5, 2017
Good morning everyone. Thanks for being here; it’s important that we are all here.
Welcome to One Police Plaza, and to one of the most solemn events we hold in the New York City Police Department.
Today, we add 34 names to our Hall of Heroes. This is the most we’ve had in any given year, and it’s too many. But even one would be too many.
Every name here is a precious life. Every name is a person who loved – and was loved by – his or her family, their friends, and their brothers and sisters in blue.
Every name is a person who cared deeply about our great city and everyone who lives, works, and visits here. Every name represents a piece of the fabric that makes up our noble profession.
They are police officers, detectives, sergeants, lieutenants, a captain, a chief, and an assistant deputy commissioner.
These names – these lives – represent a true cross-section of New York City. And they represent us, the nation’s largest – and greatest – police department.
Every cop knows the risks of this job when they put on our uniform. And so do our families. But that doesn’t make the loss of these fine people any less difficult.
And they are a reminder that the tragedy of September 11, 2001 has never really ended for us, or for our city. Crime may be down to historic low levels, and the streets of Lower Manhattan have returned to life. We should celebrate these accomplishments, but we should never take them for granted.
All of the good that we have accomplished has taken sacrifice – of which, this room will always be a reminder.
The names inscribed on these plaques will never fill the void left by these brave men and women. Instead, the function of these plaques is to make sure that we – the survivors – never forget. And, perhaps even more importantly, to make sure that future generations in the NYPD take the time to learn who these officers were. That every time they pass through this hall, they understand the tremendous legacy they are a part of.
We ask our cops to be faithful unto death – fidelis ad mortem, the motto of the NYPD. But we – the survivors – have another duty: To make sure the rest of New York City and, indeed the world, never forgets the lives of our fallen Finest.
Thank you, everyone.