As the NYPD Band played taps, military veterans and police officers saluted one of their own, a man who served the nation and New York City.
They came together for a Memorial Day ceremony in St. Albans, Queens, to remember Police Detective William Brown.
(Police Detective William Brown, who also fought in World War II.)
Victoria Townes works at the St. Albans Community Living Center, which is a veterans' facility. Becoming a bit emotional, she called the ceremony, "An honorary mention of an amazing man who's no longer here. But, he is not forgotten, which is the motto of a veteran; is that no one is left behind and no one is forgotten."
Brown died three years ago at the age of 95. A few months before his death, officers from the 113th Precinct found out the retired NYPD detective and WWII Army veteran was living alone with no heat during the winter. He didn't have any family members. The offers decided they would care for the vet, who had become frail and ill. After he passed away, they even organized his funeral.
(Veteran William Brown, center, with some of the NYPD officers who cared for him after he was found living alone with no heat during the winter.)
For Memorial Day Weekend, the officers donated his military medals and one of his police plaques to the St. Albans Community Living Center. The city administration gave the items to the officers.
"This is history, we can't just let this go. We have to stop and recognize this, and I'm so grateful we are here today to do that," Inspector Jerry O'Sullivan, the 113th Precinct commanding officer said at the ceremony. "He's a true, true American, and it's a real part of history."
During WWII, Brown was a member of the 369th Infantry Regiment also known as the Harlem Hellfighters. They were black soldiers who broke racial barriers in the military during WWI and WWII. After the war ended, Brown joined the NYPD in the late-1940s.
Gus Gustafson, a Marine veteran, called Brown, "A great man. It was a great thing he did, especially in the days back then. I'm glad they recognized him."
Veterans and NYPD officers say honoring Detective Brown in this way goes far beyond Memorial Day Weekend.
Community Affairs Detective Tanya Duhaney is one of the 113th Precinct offices who cared for Brown and decided the medals should be donated. "I feel good that I did the right thing by taking care of him in his last days and bringing the medals here to a place that I know people could come, reflect, and look at it and say, 'Look at Mr. Brown,'" Duhaney said.
"For the younger generation to come along and know that we left some history behind for them to carry on," Army veteran Willie Burks added.
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