The 23 New York City police officers that died in the September 11th terrorist attacks were remembered by their colleagues Friday.
At the 13th Precinct in Gramercy, the names of the 23 officers who perished eight years ago at the World Trade Center were read as part of a ceremonial roll call, which started at the same time of day when the first plane hit the Twin Towers.
Two of those officers, Robert Fazio and Moira Smith, worked out of that precinct. Smith was the only female city police officer to die on 9/11.
A third officer, Brian McDonnell, worked right next door, with Emergency Services Squad 1.
Their colleagues remember them fondly, and sharing in those memories were several retired officers who came back to be a part of the commemoration.
One former Emergency Services Unit officer talked about how 14 of the 23 officers who died were also ESU officers.
"It's a smaller outfit. You really worked with each one of them," said retired ESU Officer John Lambkin. "I knew each one of them personally, so it was part a family and we take it as a loss. It's a way to come back, remember them and get together with the guys that we worked with and reflect on it."
The 13th Precinct took on the role of a local command center of sorts. Members of the community volunteered to make sure emergency responders had food and fresh clothing when they returned from the long shifts they worked in the days and weeks that followed the attacks.
"It enabled us to come back after a day of work at Ground Zero, come right in, get a hot meal, change of clothes, which we needed," said Lambkin. "You were able to come in, get something to eat, get a little sleep and then go back down the next day. From September to December, we were just working 15-hour days straight through."
Six months later, the Gramercy Park Block Association donated a special memorial wall full of pictures that sits in the lobby today and serves as a reminder of the strong bond that formed between neighbors and local cops.
"It brought us back to September 11th and the days after when everyone in neighborhoods affected said 'I have to do something,'" said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also spoke about how things have changed beyond the local level since the attacks.
"The city is much better prepared, the federal government is much better prepared, the police department is much better prepared," he said. "We're safer now than we've ever been before, but having said that, there are no guarantees. People still want to come here and hurt us. New York is still the number one target in America."
One major change the department says it's most proud of is its counterterrorism unit. The 1,000 members have one mission – protecting the city from harm.