Separate but equally moving ceremonies took place Tuesday to honor fallen Long Island police officers — among them two Nassau cops who died of illnesses related to their work at Ground Zero after the terror attacks of 2001.
Friends and relatives gathered at Nassau police headquarters in Mineola to witness the unveiling of brass plaques fixed to a memorial wall in honor of officers Peter Martino and Paul J. McCabe.
After terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center, both officers joined countless others at the smoldering and toxic mountain of rubble at Ground Zero. More than a decade later — like so many other first responders on Sept. 11 who succumbed before them — both officers were gone.
Martino died on Feb. 5, 2014 and McCabe died on Sept. 25, 2015.
“He was a hero to us. He was a hero to everybody around him,” said Paul McCabe’s son, Joe, 43, and flanked by his mother Darlene and other friends and relatives. “He was well-loved by his co-workers, his department. And it just shows what they do and the line of their work. They’re running toward the towers, running toward the pile. The rest of us are running the other way.”
Martino’s son, Peter Martino, Jr., said he is wants to honor his father by making a career of law enforcement.
“I always wanted to be a police officer just like him. He definitely influenced me,” said Martino Jr. “I just want to be exactly like him. I want to help out the community and I want to serve.”
Floral tributes were placed at the wall during the memorial and the Nassau police pipe band and color guard were among the participants.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter led the moving tribute.
Loved ones huddled around the memorial, a piece of bedrock adorned with a plaque listing the names of those who have died in the line of duty. Surrounding the bedrock were six slabs of black concrete, affixed with bronze facial etchings of the fallen officers. Family members fought back tears as they saw the faces of Martino and McCabe in bronze for the first time.
“These officers took an oath years ago as police officers to always protect and serve and that is how we will remember them. As true heroes,” said acting police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.
Just over 16 miles east, Angelica Rosado cut a purple ribbon Tuesday in Farmingdale on a new memorial for New York State Police troopers lost in the line of duty since the agency was organized in 1917. One of them was her dad, Trooper Jose Rosado, an eight-year veteran on the day in 2007 when he died in a two-car Southampton Town crash.
The State Police memorial was held in front of Troop L Headquarters in Farmingdale.
Maj. David Candelaria was master of ceremonies and read the names of the 15 troopers from Troop L who have been lost in the line of duty.
The military-style ceremony also included motorcycles and a horse patrol.