WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sept. 11, 2001 was the deadliest day in law enforcement history as 72 officers were killed. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department lost 37 officers, the most by a single force in a single day.
On Friday, the names of those who perished while trying to save others were read during a ceremony at the National Law Enforcement Memorial in D.C.
A small crowd that included family members and colleagues of fallen heroes stood in a torrential downpour to hear U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder pay tribute.
"Because of them, the anniversary we observe every Sept. 11 will always be about far more than the buildings that our enemies brought down, or the damage that they inflicted on our fellow citizens," Holder said. "It's about honoring the heroism we witnessed on that fateful day, and the resilience that the American people have shown since."
"Let this be our commitment to those we honor this morning - the 72 brave individuals whose names are etched, along with more than 19,000 others, into the walls of this memorial. Let us carry on their unfinished work and strive in their honor to promote, not only safety and security, but also peace and, above all, justice.
"Let us do everything in our power to ensure that in our own time, in the lives of our children, and in the work of future generations the stories, the memories, and the rich legacies of those we lost on Sept. 11 will never be forgotten."
After helping to place a wreath, Holder started reading the names of the fallen officers.
Craig Floyd, CEO of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, spoke with pride when he recalled that thousands of lives were saved on the morning of 9/11 because of the "daring and selfless deeds of America's public safety professionals."
In addition to the 71 officers who perished at the World Trade Center, a refuge manager with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was aboard Flight 93 and was among those who fought back against the terrorists.
At the request of family members of the officers who made the supreme sacrifice, the names are listed side-by-side, symbolizing the way in which they heroically gave their lives, Floyd explained.
Stories of Sept. 11 will be among those shared in the National Law Enforcement Museum which is now under construction.
Floyd added that since 1791, more than 19,000 federal, state and local officers have sacrificed their lives standing up to the evil doers in this world. "They know the dangers of the job, but they never waver in their call to duty. Too often, though, their service and sacrifice are taken for granted."