The New York City Police Department awarded its highest honor on 42 of its members on Tuesday, and two of the honorees had made the ultimate sacrifice while wearing the blue uniform. NY1's Criminal Justice reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.
It was a day of honor, respect and sadness at One Police Plaza in Downtown Manhattan on Wednesday as Officers Peter Figoski and Alain Schaberger were posthumously awarded with the New York City Police Department's Medal of Honor.
The two NYPD members were killed in the line of duty last year. Schaberger was pushed off a Brooklyn stoop to his death and Figoski was shot and killed responding to a burglary call.
Their families accepted the star-shaped medals emblazoned with the seal of the city.
"He loved the NYPD. It is very hard, I am sorry," said Robert Figoski, Peter's brother. "It's well-appreciated. The pain will never go away but it means a lot to know that, it really does."
"We are eternally grateful for their service and sacrifice. No medal can ever repay the debts we owe them or their families, but the work that you all continue to do to make our streets safer for fellow officers is the greatest tribute anyone could pay them," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Alain Schaberger and Peter Figoski
For their bravery while helping to keep the city safe, 15 other NYPD members received the Medal of Valor and 12 others were honored with the Police Combat Cross for confronting a person with a weapon and often coming under fire.
"I appreciate it very much and it is a proud moment," said retired NYPD Detective Kevin Concannon, one of the honorees.
Asked what he thought when he was in the heat of combat, Concannon said, "At that moment we were doing what we were trained to do."
"I am just honored to be a part of a ceremony that honors Detective Figoski and Officer Schaberger and all of the other officers who died in the line of duty," said NYPD Lieutenant Robert Henderson.
Also honored were 13 police officers who died of cancer, lung disease and other illnesses after working in the debris at the World Trade Center site following the September 11th attacks.
"With the awarding of the distinguished service medals, we renew our pledge never to forget them or to forget their service or their sacrifice," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.