Police Commissioner O’Neill at the 2017 Police Memorial Wall Ceremony

October 13, 2017

Good morning and thank you all for being here. It’s important that we are here. This is one of the most important ceremonies we hold in the NYPD because it’s another opportunity to celebrate the lives and contributions of 33 heroes, and to renew our promises to their loved ones – that we will never forget their service or their sacrifice.

We’d all like to imagine a time when this ceremony won’t be necessary, but the reality is that we’re adding more names today than we ever have in a single year. Thirty-three members of the NYPD – 33 sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, husbands and wives. Each one of them represents a unique life lived among family, friends, colleagues. They came from different backgrounds and cultural traditions, but they all have at least one thing in common: Their lives were spent – and ultimately ended – in service to this great city and the people they cared so deeply about. They knew this was possible – every cop knows it, and so do their families. But they did it anyway. They knew the risks involved every time they chose to run toward the danger, when others ran away. They did what they did to help those in need because that’s what we do – that’s what cops do. It’s an enormous responsibility, and police officers bear it with pride, courage, and conviction. As difficult as that can be on our loved ones and as painful as the sacrifices are, the people of New York City rely on us. So we will continue to fulfill our commitment to them just as this police department will continue to fulfill our commitment to you – the families and colleagues who carry on the tremendous legacies of all those we’ve lost. Thank you for sharing these remarkable men and women with us, and for your courage through extended illnesses and loss. You know you’ll always be part of our NYPD family. Today, we offer you again our deepest condolences and our solemn pledge to cherish and to uphold the memories of your loved ones, for all time.

Memorials like this will never fill the void left by these brave men and women. But that’s not why we’re here. Instead, this wall makes sure that we, the survivors, never forget. And, perhaps even more importantly, it makes sure that future generations in this city take the time to learn who these officers were, and that everyone who comes here understands the rich tradition of service these officers are a part of. The NYPD’s motto is “Fidelis ad Mortem” – Faithful unto Death. But we, and all who come after us, remain faithful to our fallen brothers and sisters forever. So we’ll meet here again and again to honor their memories and to celebrate their lives. And they’ll live on in each one of us as we continue their most essential work. Thank you very much.