The NYPD on Tuesday honored 42 fallen police officers by adding their names to the Memorial wall at One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan — the first time the annual event was held since before the COVID pandemic.
The names included two police officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2019 — Det. Brian Simonsen and Det. Brian Mulkeen — and members who died as a result of 9/11 terror attack related illnesses, including Luis Alvarez, an advocate for other survivors.
“Every time I go to an event, it’s bittersweet because I feel like he should be here, he should be getting the award himself,” widow Leanne Simonsen told the Post.
“Yet here I am. So I just do anything I can to honor my husband and portray him how he was. He was just the best of the best.”
Simonsen, 42, was killed in a volley of nearly four dozen bullets fired at career criminal Christopher Ransom after police responded to reports of a robbery at a T-Mobile store on 120th Street in Queens in February 2019.
Luis Alvarez, an NYPD detective who suffered from cancer brought on by his time at Ground Zero, died in June 2019 at 53. His death came nearly three weeks after he joined comedian Jon Stewart in a moving plea to Congress to replenish the fund for 9/11 victims.
His brother Phil Alvarez attended the ceremony.
“When the NYPD says they never forget, they truly mean that,” Phil Alvarez said.
“This was a special one because when you look up on that wall and you see the names of all the heros that have gone before our loved ones and now our loved ones names have joined them. It’s a special moment for us as family members.”
Mulkeen, 33, who was also honored, was killed by friendly fire in late September of the same year during a hand-to-hand struggle in The Bronx.
“The men and women we honor today, they gave their all,” Mayor de Blasio said at the somber ceremony. “And they must be remembered because they remind us of what needs to be. And they remind us that we have to stand by these families.”
Police Commissioner Dermott Shea also spoke at the event that included prayer and the singing of the National Anthem.
“We talk about never forgetting,” Police Commissioner Dermott Shea told the audience, which included still grieving widows, daughters, sons, mothers and other relatives. “It’s not in our DNA. You should know that as you sit here today your loved ones will always be honored by this department.”
“We will never forget the sacrifice that your loved ones made.”