Solemnly and deliberately the names of 47 more NYPD officers who gave their lives serving the city were read at the annual Police Memorial Day ceremony. Every one of them died in the last year from 9/11-related illnesses.
"The tragedy of September 11, 2001 has not ended for us, for our families or for our great city.” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “We lost so much that day and it's not over."
The NYPD lost 23 members in the 9/11 attack itself. Since then, 201 more officers who breathed the toxic air at the World Trade Center site or handled debris from the collapsed buildings have passed away, bringing the total number of the department's 9/11-related deaths to 224.
Georgina Valentin buried her husband, NYPD Detective Harry Valentin, last May.
He died of brain cancer at just 57-years-old.
"For me and my children; it hurts us. We shouldn't have to be here today," Georgina said.
Eighteen years after the attacks, the number of officers battling cancers and other diseases linked to 9/11 has grown to 500.
The government said Friday the number of people eligible for help under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has increased to nearly 24,400, an increase of more than a thousand since December.
With the fund projected to run low on cash, the Police Commissioner Friday urged Congress to replenish it, and extend it indefinitely.
"The time has come to recognize that we cannot place a financial cap or temporal limit on this slow-moving human crisis,” the commissioner wrote. “We must recognize that our estimates of the damage done were too low in both 2010 and 2015, and that the current plan to close out the fund by December 2020 is unrealistic."
"It's not enough, for them, who sacrificed and not enough for the families who are left behind and left with the bills and medical expenses left behind from them," said Mary Ellen Chevallier, whose brother died of a 9/11-related cancer.
17,000 more people are still hoping to enroll in the federally funded program. Unfortunately, those are numbers many expect will continue to grow.