Members of the city's uniformed services also hung their heads Saturday in remembrance of 9/11. NY1's Jenifer Slaw spent the morning with the 13th precinct.
Three years later their duty as police officers remains the same, but their lives have drastically changed.
"It's a strain for my wife and I'm sure for my children as well," said Scott Kimmins of the NYPD. "You can't dwell on it, of course. You gotta go out and do you have to do. It's always in the back of your mind. It's always back there."
The 13th precinct lost two officers on 9/11, leaving them with unimaginable grief. To honor their memory, cops held a roll call Saturday morning of those who perished in the line of duty. The roll call was followed by a moment of silence, as officers bowed their heads in uniform, some of them with tears in their eyes.
When asked if the three years have softened the pain, officer Rita Colon said, not at all.
"Like the first day. Like the first day," said Colon.
"It's very somber," said Paul McCormack of the NYPD. "Like last night we had two detectives lost their lives, so it really hits home. It makes you think. It makes you value things in life everyday. You gotta be happy to be alive."
But while the officers admit 9/11 was a rude awakening, it doesn't stop them from coming back to work every day.
"We do have a certain amount of fear associated with the responsibilities we have to face," said Mike Hanson of the NYPD. "Fear is an ever-present concern, but it's also a self protective emotion that helps us perform our duties on a regular basis."
A sentiment echoed by the president of the police union.
"We wear that uniform each and every day and people sometimes look at us like we're super men and women and that's not the case," said PBA President Pat Lynch. "We're afraid when we go out on patrol. You'd be crazy if you're not. But what's also important when we stand out here and read these names it reminds the public who's going on with their busy days that it's September 11th and 23 New York City police officers gave their lives so they can walk down the streets in safety.
Clearly this is a very difficult day for New York's finest. But as many of these officers point out, the reality of 9/11 is not just something they have to reflect upon once a year, but on a daily basis as part of their jobs.
— Jenifer Slaw
For comprehensive online coverage of the third 9/11 anniversary, as well as a schedule of NY1's live coverage of Saturday's commemorative events, see NY1.com's special WTC Section.