An honor guard stood watch over 72 American flags that had been placed in front of the Fraternal Order of Police state lodge. That’s one flag for every police officer who died in the line of duty on September 11th, 2001. “9/11 was the deadliest day in law enforcement history, but it was also a day in which innumerable law enforcement officers showed unparalleled courage and bravery,” president of the PA FOP Les Neri said at a Wednesday remembrance ceremony.
State and local police from throughout the state gathered to remember the actions of the heroic police officers who assisted in the rescue efforts in New York, Washington and Somerset County PA. Neri says all were fully aware of the risk they were taking, but they went anyway. “This was not the first time they risked their lives, but unfortunately for 72-heroic officers it was their last.”
Neri says the memorial of 72 American flags at the PA FOP headquarters is a small tribute to honor the memory of those officers. He hopes it can serve as a reminder that Pennsylvania can never forget the actions and sacrifice made by those 72 officers at a time when the nation needed them the most.
Among the officials attending Wednesday’s ceremony was Corporal Ronald Zona with Troop A of the Pennsylvania State Police in Greensburg, Westmoreland County. Zona was one of the first people on the scene when Flight 93 crashed into a Shanksville field ten years ago. Check back to hear Zona’s first-hand account later in the week.