Police Bands From Across US March To Honor 9/11 Victims

Police Bands From Across US March To Honor 9/11 Victims

Bagpipers march down Broadway on September 9, 2016, in New York.

New York, United States: Playing drums and bagpipes, police bands paraded through the streets of New York on Friday in a memorial procession honoring those who died in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Seventy-one police officers were killed in the attacks at the World Trade Center when Al Qaeda operatives crashed airplanes into the twin towers, including 23 members of the New York Police Department.

Every year since then, several NYPD bands, sounding bagpipes, pipes and drums, have paraded near Ground Zero, the site of the attacks.

But for the 15th anniversary of the worst attacks on US soil, the NYPD invited other police bands to join them and they came from Boston, Chicago, Cleveland and Seattle to mark the solemn occasion.

The NYPD's Emerald Society, wearing kilts, led the procession to the New York City Police Memorial in lower Manhattan, not far from the attacks site.

"Fifteen years seems like a long time, but the wounds are still there," NYPD chaplain Robert Romano said in a speech to an audience including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The songs most played, as usual, were the old Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" and patriotic standards such as "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America."

The bagpipes tradition in the United States comes from the Irish and Scottish immigrants who gained a foothold in police forces in the northeastern states in the 19th century.

The bands "represent the fallen," said Anthony Ferragamo, an officer in the Marine Unit of the Seattle Police. "For this occasion, all the bands came together to show respect for the fallen at the NYPD."

The bands typically play at the funerals of police officers who have died while serving the public.

"It's the first time that all the police bands actually got together," said Ferragamo.

Lightening the mood a bit, one of the NYPD bands played "New York, New York," the upbeat homage to the city made famous by Frank Sinatra.

Some 3,000 people were killed in the attacks in New York City, at the Pentagon just outside the US capital Washington and in Pennsylvania, where one of the planes crashed.