As prepared for delivery 

NYC Department of Correction
20th Anniversary of 9/11 Remarks, Rikers Island
Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi


Good morning,

As the newly appointed Commissioner of the NYC Department of Correction, it is truly an honor and privilege to reflect on the contributions made by the men and women of DOC on that fateful day 20 years ago.

I’d like to preface by thanking each of you for your hard work and unrelenting pursuit of excellence in one of the toughest jobs in law enforcement.

September 11, 2001 is a day that will forever be in our hearts and minds.  It’s a day that forever changed us.  We all can remember exactly where we were the moment the planes struck, and we were attacked.  It soon came to be realized that our lives would never be the same.

Today, we assemble here to reflect on the legacy of those precious lives lost and honor and remember our first responders.

All of the NYC Correction Officers, Police, Firefighters and the many others who in the days, weeks, and months that followed this devastating attack remained steadfast and resolute. 

Our Correction Officers played a vital role during the rescue and recovery efforts, as we built and managed the Ground Zero communications system, helped establish the morgue at Bellevue Hospital and joined other first responders at the Fresh Kills landfill to collect and identify the remains of those who perished.  Collectively, they embodied the spirit of public servitude.

I would also like to take this time to remember our colleagues who worked at our locations near ground zero at 17 Battery place and 2 Washington street. Many of them were also impacted by the attacks and some unfortunately succumb to 9/11 related illnesses.

It is not lost on me that this agency has not received the proper acknowledgement for our role in the rescue and recovery efforts like our colleagues from NYPD and FDNY—and that’s just not right. But YOU all, our current staff and retired first responders stood up and said no more!

Over the last five years, you all made it a priority to ensure our agency and this city was made aware that “we were there, we remember”. Talk about BOLD!

We must, and we will continue to ensure that all the work we  done to bring this city back after 9/11 and to keep it safe NEVER goes unnoticed.

I salute all of you and say thank you.

While the world around us has changed but the immovable spirit of teamwork, community and togetherness remains the same.  As we move forward, let this somber occasion remind us all that even in the midst of pain and turmoil, we are a city and agency that fears nothing and ALWAYS stands united.

Thank you.