MANHATTAN — The NYPD will hold a special parade in Lower Manhattan in September to mark the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that has claimed the lives of 122 of its officers over the years, DNAinfo New York has learned.
The parade — the first to mark a 9/11 anniversary — will take place on Friday, Sept. 9, to avoid any conflict with the city’s annual 9/11 Memorial service that takes place two days later at Ground Zero.
It will start on lower Broadway at the north end of Bowling Green near the famous Wall Street Bull.
Led by a phalanx of bag pipers, marchers will head southwest along Battery Place and around the southern tip of Manhattan in view of Statue of Liberty before heading north into Battery Park City.
The parade will end at the NYPD’s Police Memorial Wall, where the names of all the fallen NYPD officers are engraved, near Liberty Street and South End Avenue.
There, marchers and family and friends of the 23 NYPD officers who lost their lives on Sept 11, and the 99 officers who have succumbed to 9/11 health-related illnesses since then, will hold a memorial service honoring their sacrifice with a host of government officials, dignitaries and police officials.
“We felt that it was important to do something special for the 15th anniversary,” said a police official involved in the planning. “The names of the 23 who died on 9/11 are engraved on the city’s official 9/11 Memorial, but those who died after that from cancer and other illnesses are not.”
A majority of the 99 officers did not work at Ground Zero, but were assigned for weeks to the Staten Island landfill command, where they had the grim task of sifting through WTC debris looking for human remains or property to return to loved ones, officials say.
“We see them all as 9/11 victims and this is a way to honor all of them and their families,” the NYPD official added.
Since 9/11, the NYPD has held its own memorial event two days before the city’s memorial.
This year’s events will include a breakfast for the victims’ families earlier that morning in the auditorium inside Police Headquarters.
They will then be driven to the Police Memorial, as in previous years, but this time they will have the opportunity to march if they prefer.
Officials say they are uncertain how many families will attend the day's ceremonial activities. Some families in recent years said they no longer want to attend annual events to avoid reliving the pain, or because they have finally moved on.
But the NYPD expects as many as 1,000 people to attend, sources said.