The names of 72 law enforcement officers who died during the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were read aloud Friday morning, the 19th remembrance of the day tragedy struck in the form of three hijacked planes that crashed in New York City, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund honored the fallen law enforcement heroes in Washington, D.C., in a ceremony that began shortly after 8:15 a.m. Friday, when Sgt. Steve Troyano and Detective Marc Mazzella from the Arlington County Police Department, who responded to the Pentagon on that fateful day, took turns reading aloud the victims’ names.
“Together, our community of active and retired law enforcement … will ensure that the memorial fund continues its mission to honor the fallen, tell the story of our nation’s law enforcement, and make it safer through those who serve,” said Marcia Ferranto, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, at the start of the somber ceremony.
Heroes’ names were read and wreaths were laid at intervals starting at 8:46 a.m., 9:02 a.m., 9:37 a.m. and 10:03 a.m., to signify when hijacked planes crashed into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington and the field located in Shanksville.
In total, 2,977 people were killed on that day, including the 72 law enforcement officers and 343 firefighters.
The highest number of casualties was reported from the World Trade Center, where more than 2,750 people, including law enforcement, were killed or believed dead. The Office of the New York City Medical Examiner is still working to identify roughly 1,100 victims' remains.
“We were face to face with pure evil: Islamist Extremist Terrorism,” said Rudy Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City at the time of the attacks, during a Friday morning interview on FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria.” Giuliani spoke with "Fox & Friends" earlier Friday.
“Because of the bravery of the rescue workers – and I’m going to point out the New York City Police Department, as well as the fire department and the Port Authority [of New York and New Jersey]," Giuliani told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo. "They saved, seven-or-8,000 lives that probably would have been dead had it not been such an expert rescue operation — and those are the words of the 9/11 Commission, by the way.”
Giuliani, who was lauded as “America’s Mayor” in the wake of the attacks, added that the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, credited rescue workers “with saving every life that was possible to be saved.”
“And that’s because they gave up their lives,” he said. “Please remember that, you know, when we do all this horrible divisive rhetoric about police officers. So, please remember: they’re the ones who run in and save you, not the people yelling and screaming about them.”
On that day, NYPD Assistant Chief Terri Tobin went to work earlier than usual after voting in Queens. At the time, she worked for the department's public relations unit, under the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information (DCPI), and traveled to the scene with a co-worker.
She recalled thinking it would be a small, private plane, that had crashed.
"And yet, when we got on the FDR Drive ... to get to the World Trade Center by Battery Park, the amounts of paper that [were] floating through the air and covering the roadway led us to believe that this was a huge hole somewhere,” she told Fox News on Friday.
She and other members of DCPI had arrived and were walking toward the area when the second plane struck the South Tower.
“I was blown out of my shoes,” she said, describing the moments the South Tower collapsed. “And I was blown across West Street when that building came down and wound up being pelted by the debris of the building and wound up being in a pile.”
Buried within the pile of debris, Tobin, who now works in the department's Behavioral Health Division, climbed out and got to work helping people to safety before another first responder discovered that she, too, had been injured.
Tobin suffered injuries to her head, where a cement chunk had split her Kevlar helmet and become embedded, and her back, which was struck by glass debris.
“Well, you can imagine what the adrenaline is like in a situation we were confronted. In my police career, and I had 19 years on at that point, I had never experienced something as catastrophic as that," she said. "And thank God we do the training that we do in the NYPD because there's no thought process. You know exactly what is required."
The NYPD lost 23 members on Sept. 11, while the Port Authority lost 37. As devastating as it was for so many, Tobin said there’s nowhere she would rather have been – helping those who needed it the most.
“It is extremely sad that we lost the people that we did, as I look at the people standing before me, the caliber of the people who would respond in the same way today I think is remarkable,” she said, later adding: “I absolutely believe that I was doing what I was meant to be doing on that day. And I certainly feel that to be as true today as it was then.”