Nearly 4,400 miles ago, on Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, CA, 38 firefighters (16 from Australia & 16 from the United States) embarked on a cross-country journey to honor the firefighters, EMS workers, and law enforcement officers who died nine years ago on September 11, 2001. Now, a month after leaving California, the Tour of Duty group arrived in Washington, DC at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial to honor the 72 law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice on 9/11, before setting out on the final leg of their adventure culminating at Ground Zero in New York City.
After brief remarks and a moment of silence, a wreath was placed next to Panel 9-W on the Memorial Wall. All 72 officers are engraved together on line 23, starting on panel 9-W and ending on panel 22-W.
Officer Dan Steffens, from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, found special meaning in seeing Officer George Howard’s name. President George W. Bush, standing in front of Congress on September 20, 2001, held up Officer Howard’s police badge and stated, “Some will remember an image of a fire or story or rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever. And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end.”
The Tour of Duty began in Australia twenty seven years ago, in 1983, claiming a world record for circumnavigating all of Australia. The group has since participated in numerous runs throughout Australia and Europe, raising awareness for fallen soldiers of the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps that have died in the line of duty.
September 11, 2001, remains the deadliest day in law enforcement history, with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department losing 37 officers, the single largest loss of law enforcement personnel by a single agency in U.S. history. To show your support for these true American heroes, share your personal experiences and stories of 9-11 at www.LawMemorial.org/Remembering9-11.
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