Commissioner Safir, First Deputy Commissioner Kelleher, Chief Anemone and all of the honored families and friends, we are here today to honor the courage and dedication of NYC police officers who have died in the line of duty.
Each of the officers is named on a roll of honor and is due to the highest standard of duty and professionalism, the highest standard of the NYC Police Department. And their legacy of courage and sacrifice will always be a foundation in which NYC Police Department is based. When a police officer joins the Police Department, he realizes the risks that are involved. When he goes to work he may not return home safely.
The police officers that we honor today honored us with their unshakable commitment to public service. They didn't hesitate to put their own lives at risk to protect their fellow citizens. Last May 19th, 1997, when Anthony Sanchez and his partner Roy Ruland and 3 other officers responded to a call involving armed robbery, they didn't hesitate.
Police Officer Sanchez faced the fear of being killed. He did that for a very specific reason: to protect the lives of other people. That selfless act followed a career in which he repeatedly made clear the commitment to the helping, assisting, and saving others. In his ten years as a police officer, Anthony earned 15 metals: 3 for meritorious service and 12 for excellent police duty.
So, the act of bravery is not something individual, isolated and all alone. It was marked his character and what he was all about. He was an exceptional police officer. He was loved by everyone who knew him: his commanding officer, his partner Roy, the fellow officers of the precinct, the community he served, and mostly by his friends and family.
When we honor police officer Sanchez we also honor his family because the strength, the commitment, the dedication and the courage that he had did not happen by accident; they were created in the home and nurtured in the family. So we honor his wife Elizabeth, his son John, his father Antonio, his mother Loretta and all the people who helped form and shape him.
And they are the ones ultimately who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The people of the City of New York will always remember this and always stand by you, they will always be in your debt and your Anthony will be someone that they always honor because he is part of the very, very best in the history of the City. As we honor the memories and the heroism of police officers that will be preserved forever on the roll of honor which is right behind me.
We are also here to reclaim the legacy of Patrolman Thomas Gilbert. Patrolman Gilbert was killed in the line of duty when he was struck by an automobile on November 18th, 1918. Patrolman Gilbert served with honor and distinction during 17 years with the traffic division of the New York City Police Department. Today, as his name goes on the Wall of Honor we record with the proper dignity and respect of one of New York City's finest, that he was entitled to a long time ago.
What connects these two police officers over a span of eighty years? As I think about that and reflect on it I look at the statue behind me, behind you and in front of me, which is the thing I think connects dignity, honor, courage, and the desire to protect that young boy who is holding very, very firmly on to the arm or hand of a police officer.
Both police officers separated by what appears to be ages of difference, different time, different period, but connected together in their understanding that it is necessary to make sacrifices to protect others. We need heroes like this. We need people like this to call others to this kind of service and that kind of dedication. We are eternally indebted to their families for all they have given the city and for what they now suffer. Thank you and God bless you.